Helmut Marko speaks out on Charles Leclerc being ‘demoted’ at Ferrari

Carlos Sainz has been outperforming his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in recent races.

Dr. Helmut Marko has voiced his support for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, expressing confidence in the Monegasque driver’s ability to respond to his teammate Carlos Sainz’s recent strong performances. 

Sainz, a former protege of Marko during his time at Red Bull, has eclipsed Leclerc’s performance since the summer break, culminating in consecutive pole positions and a breakthrough second career victory in Singapore.

Marko spoke to the Kleine Zeitung newspaper and shared his thoughts on Sainz’s current form, saying, “He is currently in top form and was already extremely fast in Monza.” 

However, he also emphasised his belief in Leclerc’s capabilities, stating:

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“But Leclerc had to slow down in the race. 

“I don’t think he (Leclerc) will be demoted at Ferrari.”

Sainz himself attributed his recent success to hard work and a deeper understanding of the car’s dynamics. 

“Just work and a greater understanding of the car,” he explained when asked about the secret to his form. 

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He added, “I believe I have understood the direction to take to exploit a little more potential from the car.”

Leclerc acknowledged Sainz’s impressive performances in recent weeks, describing him as “very, very strong.” 

He highlighted the positive impact of Sainz’s form on his own development, saying, “It is great to have him in this form because it also pushes me to understand my driving style a little more and to try to adapt it to this car.”

Jos Verstappen, father of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, offered insights into the preferences of top drivers in Formula 1. 

He noted that they tend to favour a strong front end, leaning towards oversteer. However, the current Ferrari appears to perform better when set up to understeer.

Leclerc expressed his discomfort with the current setup of the Ferrari, citing an excess of understeer and the challenges it presents. 

He explained, “I don’t feel completely comfortable at the moment. 

“There’s too much understeer for my taste, and I’m having a hard time dealing with it. 

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“Because of the unpredictability of the car, I can’t get the oversteer I want.”

Despite these challenges, Leclerc recognised the competitiveness of the car and the need to strike a balance in its setup. 

He concluded, “It’s not that it’s a car with understeer, but you have to force it to be predictable with the setup.”