Charles Leclerc admits he was ‘really surprised’ after returning to Ferrari HQ amid rumours

It was confirmed on Thursday that former Ferrari head of vehicle concept David Sanchez will join McLaren in 2024.

Ahead of last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc revealed that everybody at Ferrari is “fully on it and fully positive”, following several “rumours” that senior figures at Maranello were considering their future at the team.

Ferrari have certainly endured a challenging start to 2023, with the side having also encountered one issue with their power unit, which led to Leclerc retiring at the season-opener in Bahrain.

As a result of that failure, he took a 10-place grid penalty in Jeddah, a penalty he could only recover five places from.

The Monegasque finished in seventh right behind team-mate Carlos Sainz, as Ferrari slipped to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.

READ: Manager hits out at Fernando Alonso’s critics, accuses FIA of trying to steal his podium

It cemented what’s been a tough start to the season of Ferrari both on and off the circuit, with issues at Maranello having been discussed by the 25-year-old ahead of last weekend.

Leclerc admits that a meeting took place in Maranello following the rumours but that he was “really surprised” by their positive responses.

“Honestly I obviously saw these rumours and then went to Maranello [after Bahrain] so I was at first I was like ‘oh I’m not sure how the team will react to it’ but then we’ve had a meeting with the whole team, with all the Ferrari employees. I was really surprised,” Leclerc said, as reported by Sky Sports.

“Everyone is fully on it and fully positive still, which is great. We all need to push in the same direction as I said this is the most important.

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“There have been loads of rumours around the team – which, for once, 90 per cent of them were completely unfounded.

“I don’t know from where it is coming from and to be honest I don’t want to even spend any energy on trying to find from where it’s coming from. We just need to be on it and focus on ourselves.”

Leclerc’s and Sainz’s highlight of the weekend was arguably having a drawing competition against each other as part of a segment of Sky Sport F1’s build-up to the race, where they had to draw each other.

Leclerc was victorious in the duel, with his drawing having been voted as the winner by members of the media who watched the skit.

READ: Lewis Hamilton visibly dejected in Saudi Arabia

The Monegasque went on to discuss the challenges of being part of Ferrari and how “there’s lots of voices” when things go wrong, given how historic the team are.

“When it’s Ferrari who doesn’t go as well as it should then there’s lots of voices and all of these things around the team but we need to be good at spending our energy right inside the team, pushing in the right direction and making a difference and come back stronger,” said Leclerc.

“I feel this has been the case in the last few weeks so I’m really looking forward to be being back on track, stop the talk and get back to driving.”