Leclerc’s Miami crashes a result of having to “make the difference” according to Ferrari

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Ferrari’s Jock Clear says Charles Leclerc’s crashes during the Miami Grand Prix weekend were a result of Leclerc pushing to the limits of the SF-23 in order to close the gap to the championship leading Red Bulls.

Jock Clear of Ferrari being interviewed
Photo: @ScuderiaFerrari

“‘I’m just going to have to make the difference myself’…”

Charles Leclerc suffered a difficult weekend in Miami, hitting the wall at turn 7 on two separate occasions. The first incident came in FP2 when a moment of oversteer saw Leclerc make contact with the barrier nose first.

The second, and more costly incident came in Q3 as a sudden snap of oversteer once again saw Leclerc in the barrier, this time making contact with the rear of the car.

While it was widely suggested that an inherent lack of rear end stability in the SF-23 led to the two incidents, driver coach at Ferrari Jock Clear suggests the incidents were down to driver error due to Leclerc overstepping the cars limits.

“In some ways, this maybe is a reflection of his mindset when he is up against a car that is demonstrably quicker than him [like the Red Bull],” said Clear. “It’s a sort of: ‘I’m just going to have to make the difference myself’. Of course, physics ultimately catches you out.”

“His qualifying is outstanding.”

While the team believe that Leclerc’s pushing led to his crashes in Miami, Clear says they will not be asking the Monegasque driver to change his approach to qualifying.

“We’re not going say to him: ‘Look, calm down, Charles’,” he stated. “Over the course of a year, his qualifying is outstanding. That puts him in a very strong position for a lot of races.

“I think he smelled the opportunity for another pole position, to be honest, and maybe just got a bit ahead of himself.”

“He was really going for it in those high-speed Turns…”

Further backing up Ferrari’s view that these incidents were not caused by an inherent flaw with the car, the team introduced upgrades to the floor and diffuser geometry ahead of the Miami Grand Prix.

The team claim this upgrade had a strong positive impact on the rear of the car as it targeted improving air flow to the diffuser. Clear suggested that Leclerc’s commitment in the high speed corners leading to his crash demonstrate the effectiveness of the update.

“[The upgrade] gives the driver a more consistent balance through medium-speed, high-speed, low-speed, and of course, braking and entry and then exit,” Clear explained. “Maybe what happened yesterday with Charles is actually a testament to that. He was really going for it in those high-speed Turns 4-6 curves.”