Formula 1 Racing

Ferrari’s imminent upgrade must match “extremely quick” McLaren’s

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Miami International Autodrome, 2024

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari need to make as much progress with their forthcoming upgrade as McLaren did last weekend.

Six rounds into the season, Leclerc is the closest rival to championship leader Max Verstappen besides the Red Bull driver’s team mate. However Leclerc remains yet to win a race this year.

The performance of McLaren’s upgraded car last weekend in Miami, which Lando Norris used to score his first grand prix victory, indicated they may have overtaken Ferrari to become the closest threat to Red Bull. Leclerc was pleased with his performance after continuing his run of top-four finishes last weekend, but says Ferrari need to take a step forward to remain competitive.

“If we compare ourselves to Max this weekend, it’s been a positive weekend,” he said after Sunday’s race. “However, we cannot completely ignore Lando.

“Lando in SQ2, I remember he did a lap where I was like, ‘okay, they are extremely quick’. Then for some reason, and as Lando said, I think they weren’t as special on Saturday for some reason. But today they were really, really strong.”

Ferrari is yet to bring a significant upgrade for its SF-24. With the start of the European season next week bringing an increase in the rate of events, Leclerc said their first major package for the car will be critical to their chances over the rest of the season.

“As I’ve said many times, I think the season will be up to upgrades. We have ours coming very soon and that will define a little bit the rest of the season for us.

“So we’ve got to work hard and hopefully those upgrades will be as good as theirs and will help us to do a significant step forward.”

Asked whether Ferrari’s upgrade will arrive in time for the next round, their home race at Imola, Leclerc said: “It’s soon.”

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