Leclerc pleased that Ferrari F1 has been “very quick in addressing car issues” over “the last seven to eight months”

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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After a first home victory for Charles Leclerc in Monaco last time out, Ferrari are in the mix for the Constructors Championship’, only 24 points away from Red Bull Racing.

When asked if the recent success is due to the drivers stepping up or the car itself, Leclerc confidently said that it is mainly because of the car.

Ferrari had 122 points in the bag after 8 races last season. The SF-24 has helped them reach 252 points at the same stage of 2024, over double the points total.

Leclerc also explained how growing as a team and focusing on themselves has helped them to solve problems quickly.

The main reason for the big step is how much more drivable the SF-24 is compared to the SF-23.

“I think as a driver, from one season to the other, you always improve. However, when you look at the step we’ve done, this is a lot more down to the team and to the car. As drivers, you cannot do such a step.

“Well, that probably means that we were driving really bad last year. So, no, no, no, it’s mostly down to the car and to the hard work we’ve done as a team.

“I think we’ve had a really good approach in the last seven to eight months in order to be very quick in addressing the issues that we had on the car.

“And that’s why we are the team that has improved the most in this period. So, we need to keep focusing on ourselves, not look at others, and keep pushing to optimise every single detail.

“But definitely the biggest difference from last year to this year is the car being a lot more drivable, faster, and as a driver it’s just a continuous improvement.”

After being declared as favourites this weekend by Lando Norris, Leclerc countered that by saying nobody in the paddock wants to admit they are favourites.

“I always say that, whether it’s Helmut one weekend, Lando the other, everybody doesn’t want to be going into a weekend hearing that they are favourites. So, you are never going to hear me say that we are 100% the favourites this weekend. And the same for them.

“So, you’ve got to throw the ball to your closest opponents. So, I think it might not be the true picture once we hit the track.

“I think the reality is we are so closely matched between those three teams on track characteristics like Montreal that it’s very difficult to pinpoint a favourite.”

The forecast in Canada shows the possibility of rain throughout weekend. Leclerc’s preference would be a wet qualifying and a dry race as luck and taking gambles plays a role in the race if the heavens open.

“Probably wet quali and dry race, because the wet race is always tricky with the strategy. You can be on the lucky side or the unlucky side, because you can never really control the weather, and you are not 100% sure of what’s happening. So you can take gambles, and it gives quite a bit more unpredictability.”

Every race is a new blank page as Leclerc talks about the importance of starting afresh after the highs of Monaco. This is the case for every race despite the highs or lows of the previous weekend.

The 26-year-old’s win 11 days ago was his first since the 2022 Austrian GP.

“I think as a driver, it’s extremely important to reset after each weekend, and to always have the same approach, obviously optimising whatever you have done not perfectly at the weekend before, whether it’s a bad one or a good one.

“As good and as meaningful as it was for me to win in Monaco, you’ve got to turn the page and not focus on that anymore, and just focus on the future and what’s ahead. Now my head is only on here.”

Canada has always been a strong circuit for the Ferrari driver with a podium in 2019, a P4 after starting P10 in 2023, and a P5 after starting at the back in 2022.

Leclerc says the win is missing because of a car that can bring home the win.

Despite having speed in the race, qualifying has always been an issue around Montreal, starting too far back to be involved in the fight for the big spots.

The opportunity of winning is in their hands this weekend if everything is maximised to its full potential, with McLaren and Red Bull Racing seriously close on pace with the Scuderia.

“I think over the years, what we have been missing to win was a car that was good enough to win. Last year, we were struggling in qualifying. We were actually very fast in the race, but we were starting too far away.

“This year, I believe that it could be an opportunity. As I said earlier, I don’t think it highlights Red Bull’s strength, a track like Montreal. It might be an opportunity for us.

“We will be very closely matched with McLaren and Red Bull, and we’ve got to maximise everything. Hopefully, the finality of the weekend will be better than the ones we’ve seen in the past years.”