Leclerc Reveals Ferrari’s Qualifying Dominance Masks Race Struggles in 2023 F1 Season

Charles Leclerc Ferrari (

The Monegasque Driver Highlights Tyre Management Challenges and Car Weaknesses in Race Conditions

Ferrari’s impressive qualifying performances in the 2023 Formula 1 season, securing seven pole positions, painted a deceptive picture of the team’s overall success. Charles Leclerc, responsible for five of those poles, explained that the advantage of fresh tires and minimal fuel in qualifying masked the weaknesses of the SF-23 car, which became apparent during race conditions.

Despite the qualifying prowess, Ferrari managed to convert only one of the seven poles into a victory, with the win in Singapore. Leclerc clarified that the new tires used in qualifying compensated for the car’s weaknesses, providing extra grip. However, once the tires aged, and with added fuel on board, the SF-23 struggled, especially in traffic, changing wind conditions, or fluctuating temperatures.

Leclerc emphasized, “When we have new tires in qualifying, the extra grip from the tires compensates for the car’s weaknesses. As soon as the tires get older and lose grip and we have a lot of fuel on board, the problems start.”

The driver pointed to the race in Mexico as an illustration of Ferrari’s challenges in maintaining consistent performance. Despite a strong start on Medium tires, the transition to Hard tires proved problematic, with Leclerc unable to defend against competitors like Lewis Hamilton.

Reflecting on the season, Leclerc downplayed the significance of pole positions, stating that knowing the difficulties Ferrari faced in races made it challenging to celebrate Saturday’s achievements. Instead, he highlighted the value of contributing to understanding the car’s complexities and guiding it toward improvements for long-term success.

Leclerc noted, “That’s why pole positions are no longer a real highlight. That’s why the best thing for me this year was that I helped to understand the car and transform it in a direction that is better and will lead us back to success in the medium term.”

In a season marked by qualifying dominance but race struggles, Ferrari aims to address the nuances of its car’s performance to achieve a more consistent and competitive overall performance.