Leclerc plays down expectations of Ferrari’s Imola upgrade

Charles Leclerc is keeping his expectations in check regarding Ferrari’s upgrade for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as Red Bull also brings new parts for this weekend’s race.

McLaren made a clear step forward with an upgrade introduced in Miami last time out as Lando Norris won for the first time, and Ferrari has trialled a significant update during a filming day at Fiorano ahead of its use in Imola. Leclerc says the simulator shows an improvement in performance but is staying cautious about it.

“We of course tested the upgrade on the simulator and then we did a filming day but that was mostly for filming purposes,” Leclerc said. “For now we don’t really have real data yet, so we will have to wait and see until we do the first few laps here in Imola.


“Visually it’s a big change [but] I would be careful on what you see visually and not get carried away and not have false expectations as well, because that wouldn’t be good for ourselves.”

Leclerc says the new package is simply designed to improve the car’s performance in general, rather than targeting any specific weak points.

“Obviously the upgrades are done in a way that they’ve been projected and thought about quite a long time ago. It’s not like we could react to the first weaknesses of the car,” he said. “It’s just to make it a much better car all around. That was the main target.

“I was mostly on the simulator where we could see the first data and feel the first few things. It was small steps in the right direction. Now it’s all to be seen whether in reality we find the gains that we have seen on the simulator.”

Red Bull also is bringing new parts to Imola, although Sergio Perez says the revision will be relatively small and Max Verstappen downplayed the importance of its impact, despite the McLaren and Ferrari developments.

“There are more people coming with upgrades — Ferrari for example come here with a big, big upgrade, so at the moment it’s difficult to know where we’re going to be,” Verstappen said.

“It’s not responding [to rivals] — these things are already planned out for a long time. It’s not like one team comes with upgrades and we go, ‘Oh, we need to put something together.’ It’s literally already in the pipeline.

“We are happy with it, but naturally you have to keep on pushing, because the teams behind us are definitely catching up — as you could see in Miami when we don’t get things 100% right, they are ahead. We have to try and make sure we don’t have too many of those weekends.”

Story originally appeared on Racer