Charles Leclerc believes it will be tough for any team to catch Red Bull before the next change of technical regulations in 2026.
Red Bull has won every race so far in 2023, and George Russell’s victory in Brazil remains the only time the team has been beaten in the past 23 races. With both championship titles all but decided already, Leclerc said closing the gap under stable regulations over the next two seasons looks challenging.
“Well, that’s what we’re trying to work towards, but they have a really big margin and it’s going to be very difficult to catch them before the change of regulations,” Leclerc said.
“It’s different than in the past. In qualifying we’re much closer than what we’ve seen in the past. Normally when we see a team dominating it was qualifying and the race, now for some reason with Red Bull, it’s much more in the race than in qualifying. The gaps are much bigger in the race than in qualifying.
“That’s why we’re all working on our race pace, because Red Bull is so far ahead. There is still a lot of work to do. We have some developments in the next few races that can help us do a step forward, but also with this car we can have some unexpected surprises because they are such sensitive cars that a small change can have a big influence. And hopefully it will be the case for us.”
However, Leclerc said the more immediate priority for Ferrari is to find a way of repeating its better performances at every venue after having finished third behind the Red Bulls in Belgium but seventh in Hungary.
“The short-term goals are not that exciting, however we need to focus on the short term goals in order to achieve the long-term goals, which is to be back to winning races,” he said. “For now, the short-term goal is to improve our consistency.
“The first part of the season, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston Martin and ourselves and everybody was really inconsistent. One race it’s McLaren that’s going to be on top by quite a bit, the other race it’s going to be us and Mercedes that’s going to be on top. And if we manage to find what we have in the car that gives us the consistency to always be on top of our game, this will give us the big upper hand compared to the other teams.
“That’s where we need to focus on at the moment. Then of course the overall performance to try and close the gap to Red Bull. That will be a bit later on.”