December 3, 2023

Charles Leclerc lost 10-15 downforce points amid broken wing at race start


The Clash with Sergio Perez
Charles Leclerc finished the Mexican Grand Prix in third place. For the Ferrari Monegasque, it was certainly a good redemption after his disqualification in Austin, at the end of a race in which – due to a disastrous strategy – the #16 from Maranello had dropped from first to sixth place. The race held on Sunday at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was also the 11th consecutive one in Leclerc’s career where the 1997-born driver started from pole position but failed to cross the finish line in first place. A sort of curse that seems to haunt the talent from the Principality.

In some ways, however, Charles Leclerc can consider himself more than satisfied to have even reached the checkered flag. His contact at the start with the Red Bull of the local hero Sergio Perez, in fact, almost immediately threatened to end both the Ferrari driver’s race and Checo’s. The Prancing Horse’s representative got away with only noticeable damage to the left wing endplate, which flew off after a few laps. Paradoxically, though, Charles Leclerc’s SF-23 appeared more competitive in the first half of the race when it was damaged than after the red flag, when the mechanics were able to replace the entire front wing.

Lost Downforce
“We broke part of the front wing in turn 1, and then on the radio, they told me that we were missing 10 or 15 points,” Charles Leclerc revealed in a press conference after the race, “but to be honest, I managed to work around the issue, and I didn’t feel that bad. So, it was positive. Of course, it’s never ideal to lose so much downforce at turn 1, but that’s how it went. From that point on, we managed to have a good race, but obviously, it compromised our Grand Prix a bit.” – he pointed out.

Charles Leclerc also responded to those who asked if, paradoxically, having the car fully ‘healthy’ again after the halfway point didn’t make him lose the feeling he had acquired: “I’m pretty sure the car was better with the whole front wing than when we had half of it,” he joked, “but I’m not sure if the car was entirely fine. When I saw Checo with his rear wheel touching my front wheel, I thought, ‘Okay, it’s over for me.’ Then I continued for two or three corners, and I didn’t feel bad. It wasn’t all perfect, but I still managed to finish the race. After the red flag, we were able to fix the wing, but there may have been other minor damages to the car,” the Monegasque driver concluded at the end of the 2023 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

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