06 June 2024

Charles Leclerc cheered by new ‘brave’ approach under Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur

06 June 2024

Charles Leclerc credits team principal Fred Vasseur’s changes with putting Ferrari in a position where they can challenge Red Bull in the world championship.

Monegasque Leclerc claimed his first victory of the season with his maiden win around his home streets two weeks ago which cut Max Verstappen’s lead in the drivers’ championship to 31 points.

Verstappen appeared set to cruise to a fourth consecutive world crown when he won four of the first five races of this season but the Red Bull driver has only won one of the last three to hint at a potential title challenge.

Leclerc was undone by a string of team errors when he looked to have a title-challenging car in 2022 but is confident that Ferrari are now in a better place, with Vasseur’s changes since taking charge last year starting to pay dividend.

“I think we have 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 is why we are the team that has improved the most in this period,” Leclerc said.

“We need to keep focusing on ourselves, not looking at others and continuing to maximise every detail.

“For sure there have been changes and I really like those changes. We are definitely not losing time in making decisions and until now the decisions have often been the right ones.

“A big thing for me is not being afraid to fail in going in certain directions and sometimes you have got to be brave.

“In the past we were a bit safer on those things and today you see the benefit of doing that.”

Ferrari arrive in Canada as favourites among many observers to take victory, even allowing for the potential for rain to impact proceedings.

Red Bull struggled in Monaco and believe their car is not as effective on bumpy tracks with large kerbs.

Leclerc is not allowing himself to think about being favourite this weekend and feels that Red Bull will soon be back on top at more “normal” tracks.

“Every driver does not want to be going into a weekend hearing that we are favourites. You are never going to hear me say that we are 100 per cent the favourites this weekend and the same for them,” Leclerc added.

“So you have got to throw the ball to your closest opponents. The reality is that we are so closely matched between those three teams (Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren) that it is very difficult to pinpoint a favourite.

“We have had three races in a row including this one where bumps and kerb riding is big. I think that we will see a similar trend until this race but I expect that from Barcelona onwards Red Bull will do a step up.

“I think we have done a good job. When you look at the start of the season considering we were behind Red Bull we are not that far now and we have not lost many points and that was the most important thing.”

Verstappen expressed concern following his team’s struggles in Monaco that they would face similar difficulties in Montreal, even on a track which has been relaid after last year’s race.

“I think we have plenty to work on, we knew that already but after Monaco we have a good direction to work in,” Verstappen said.

“I am not focused on what others are doing because that’s just a waste of time and energy. We know that from our side there are things that we can do better.

“For sure the kerbs are not our favourite thing. This is not something that is solved from one week to the next.”

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