Charles Leclerc warns Ferrari not confident heading into 2023 Bahrain GP

Ferrari won the Bahrain Grand Prix last season, following an immense battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

Red Bull are very much entering this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix on top, with Ferrari seemingly having work to do ahead of the season opener, following a mixed three days of pre-season testing in the Middle East.

The Austrians looked sensational during pre-season testing, whilst Ferrari were seen to be having issues with the corners.

Ferrari looked immense down the straights, though, suggesting that they’ll be incredibly strong once DRS is activated.

There are certainly tweaks to be made ahead of the first race of the season, with Charles Leclerc admitting himself that the Maranello-based outfit have “work to do”.

READ: Nico Hulkenberg happy his Haas ‘hasn’t exploded yet’

“I feel we’ve got some work to do. Red Bull seems to be very strong in these three days,” Leclerc said.

“This morning was a little bit better, but still some work to do. It is a different car, you need to drive it a little bit differently. I’ve been trying a lot of different driving styles and I seemed to find my way this morning, finally.”

Leclerc was more open about Ferrari’s performance than new team principal Frederic Vasseur, who refused to state where he thinks his side will find themselves come Sunday.

Vasseur also isn’t particularly concerned about Red Bull given that every team’s true pace isn’t actually known, with qualifying on Saturday set to be the first time when every car will be performing at its maximum.

Article continues below

It’s very difficult to “judge” how each side are looking based on pre-season testing, with Vasseur recognising that nobody knows what fuel load is being run.

“What is true is that on one lap pace, you are not able to judge because you don’t know if they are running with 20/30/50 kilos, and they don’t know if we are at 20/30/50kg,” Vasseur said.

“It means that it’s very difficult to do any kind of comparison.

READ: Toto Wolff admits Mercedes ‘advantage’ over Red Bull

“The only thing that you can judge is when you are doing a race simulation. Because you know that, if you don’t stop the car and you do 55 laps, it means that you started with 110kg. It’s the only one [where you know].

“On our side we did different attempts, with different levels of fuel. Some solutions were working, some other a bit less. We have to get the best from this and to do a proper analysis.

“It was not the mindset of the test. If you start the test just to have a look on the level of performance of the team, you are dead, because then you will react and function based on the timesheet.”