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Formula 1 Dutch GP

Leclerc has "zero idea" how Ferrari behaves after F1 Dutch GP qualifying crash

Charles Leclerc says he has “zero idea” how his Ferrari Formula 1 car will behave through the corners after crashing out of qualifying for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari

Leclerc, who scored pole in Azerbaijan and last time out at Spa, was running fifth when he ploughed into the wall with four minutes left in Q3 at Zandvoort.

A small snap through the Turn 9 right-hander sent Leclerc over the greasy off-line asphalt and then onto the wet grass where he slid side-on into the barriers, ultimately leaving him ranked ninth.

The Monegasque, who complained of poor car balance following Friday practice, now reckons he has “zero idea” how the Ferrari SF-23 will behave through the corners.

He said: “It’s just the car this weekend that is extremely difficult to drive.

“In Formula 1, it's all about anticipating and knowing what balance you're going to get once you get into the corner.

“But, at the moment, I'm getting into the corner and I have zero idea whether I'm going to have huge understeer, huge oversteer.

“That makes it very, very difficult for us. So, it's been a very difficult weekend until now.”

Leclerc also notably struggled with front locking into Turn 1 in qualifying to repeatedly take to the escape road.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, in the gravel

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, in the gravel

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

He reckoned these problems, despite the overnight set-up changes, showed there was “not much that helps” the Ferrari to respond at Zandvoort.

“It’s one of those weekends where the car is extremely difficult to drive,” said Leclerc.

“Since FP1, we've been struggling in Turn 1, 9 and 10. We changed the car completely and honestly, there's not much that helps us in these three corners.

“[They are] those corners where you go into the corner, you are releasing the brake, there's absolutely no grip in mid-corner for whatever reason.

“Then you're just trusting the car on gripping again in the exit, which it didn't on that lap. I obviously ended up in the wall.”

Ferrari’s development path has focused on making the handling more benign as part of its understanding for 2024, when it will change concept to a brand-new design.

Leclerc said of the change of direction: “It’s great to hear that and obviously, I can't wait.

“But first, I've got a season to finish in '23. But we can only go another direction because, at the moment, honestly, the car is really, really difficult to drive.

“It's just very, very difficult to be on the limits... As soon as you get close to the limit, you just really don't know what's going to happen… so it's a difficult situation.”

Team-mate Carlos Sainz qualified sixth, 1.187 seconds adrift of dominant polesitter Max Verstappen.

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