With the new, improved engine, Ferrari hopes to close the gap to McLaren, although Charles Leclerc does not expect miracles. It is, he says, ‘slightly better than the previous engine, but does not involve any major changes. Still, it can help Ferrari, Leclerc thinks: “It’s going in the right direction.”
“On paper it is slightly better,” says Leclerc about the new power source. He could recently already reveal that it concerns an improvement of the hybrid system. Reportedly, it should produce about ten horsepower extra. “Obviously, when we have something that’s a little better, we try to bring that out on the track. We expect it to be slightly better. No big changes, but something that is going in the right direction.”
The new engine is his fourth of the season and so he has to start at the back of the Sochi Autodrom. “For now we expect rain, that could make for an unpredictable race,” he looks ahead. “Hopefully that will be to our advantage. If it stays dry and we have the speed, you can still overtake here. We’ll see how it goes.” Ferrari had a hard time on the wet Spa-Francorchamps, but the Monegask secretly hopes for some rain and wants to do a rain dance. “I’m not very good at dancing, but maybe the rain will be better so I’ll try Saturday night.”
So Leclerc doesn’t expect miracles from the new update, but he does hope it helps Ferrari in the exciting battle with McLaren. “Unfortunately, they have a good season,” Leclerc laughs. “It’s good that we have a fight like that. The light has been close together all season. On Monza they were very strong. We have to catch up with them now. They are very fast and constant. We have to maximize every weekend to finish ahead of them. I don’t think they are more constant, but they are faster. Hopefully this small upgrade will help us get closer.”
At Monza, Leclerc crossed the line in fourth, putting him on 104 points. With that, he already has more points than he collected in the entire 2020 season, which just shows the progress of the team. “It feels different. Since the first race I had more confidence in this car and the performance is just better. We are also more consistent than last year. That’s good to see, we’re moving in the right direction. We still have a long way to go, we want to fight for the title, but this is a good step forward compared to last season.”
At the press conference in Russia, Leclerc also got a clever question from a young fan: “Does Charles like eclairs?”, which is obviously a pun, referring to his last name. “Is that a real question?” he responded positively surprised. “Yes, I like them. I don’t eat them often because it’s bad for my diet, but I love it! Great question!” said Leclerc.