Charles Leclerc is urging Ferrari to work on their communication after a number of costly errors compromised the team’s weekend in Monaco.
The Scuderia were competitive at times in Monte Carlo, where Leclerc set a lap fast enough for third – behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin – at the climax of qualifying.
However, the local hero was handed a three-place grid penalty in the hours after the session for impeding McLaren driver Lando Norris in the tunnel in Q3.
Leclerc finished where he started on race day having pitted to switch from hard to medium tyres a matter of laps before a mid-race downpour, while team-mate Carlos Sainz slumped from fourth to eighth in a race in which he was heard angrily criticising Ferrari’s strategy choices over team radio.
Having seen his 2022 title challenge crumble through a series of avoidable errors, Leclerc is keen for Ferrari to learn quickly from their Monaco mistakes.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, he said: “We have a lot of discussions all the time after the races and whenever there’s a mistake of course we always try to improve from them.
“In terms of the mistakes that happened in Monaco, of course there was the qualifying one with the traffic. This is [a] communication [issue] and we have been looking into it. I should have also been more aware and looked around a bit more even though it was in a very difficult place of the track with the tunnel.
“In terms of strategy on my side, again I think there has been lots of talks about a mistake but on our side of the garage I honestly don’t call that a mistake. I think it was a choice at that time so on that I’m less worried.”
Ferrari have reportedly arrived in Spain armed with a completely new sidepod design, having abandoned the so-called ‘bathtub’, low-drag concept in place since the start of 2022 for a more conventional, Red Bull-inspired arrangement.
Despite the very noticeable aesthetic change, Leclerc has played down the likely impact of the upgrade package, adding: “I think this is very clear for us, which direction we want to take.
“I think it’s good also to bring them here in Barcelona because it’s normally a track that is very good at giving you the feedback of the different parts you test, but we are pretty confident it will go in the right direction.
“It won’t be a huge change but it should give us a small step in the right direction.”
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has reverted to its classic layout for this year’s race, having dropped the widely unpopular chicane at the end of the lap to bring back the high-speed double right-hander.
Having started from pole position at this venue last year, Leclerc is relishing the challenge over the Spanish GP weekend – moved from its traditional mid-May slot for 2023 – but fears the tweaks to the circuit will have a detrimental effect on tyre degradation, Ferrari’s long-standing enemy.
“I like it,” he said of the changes. “I don’t think the front-left or the rear-left tyre will like it and I think tyre management will be even more of a thing than it was in the past, which was already one of the most tricky races.
“So it’s going to be exciting and I hope we can be on top of what we need to do for the race in terms of tyre management.”
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