Leclerc admits ‘tough time’ at Ferrari after major reliability issues in Canada

Ferrari have now gone six races with a win after Red Bull's magnificent upturn in form since Australia.

Charles Leclerc has called for calm among the Italian side after a series of issues for Ferrari-powered cars in recent races.

Both Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher suffered issues during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, meaning there have been 12 problems surrounding the Maranello-made engines in the last four races between the works team, Haas and Alfa Romeo.

Both Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz retired from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to reliability issues as Red Bull sealed their third one-two of the season, and that followed the Monegasque’s retirement in Barcelona when his engine failed.

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It came after Leclerc won two of the opening three rounds of the season amid retirements for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but the Austrian side turned things around after Australia.

They have won all of the last six rounds of the season as of Verstappen’s victory in Canada, and Perez suffered his second non-finish of the year when his gearbox failed.

Sainz finished P2 after putting the reigning champion under heavy pressure at the end of the race, and Leclerc recovered from 19th to fifth having taken on an entirely new power unit ahead of the weekend, earning him a penalty.

The result meant that Ferrari closed the gap to Red Bull by four points in the Constructors’ Championship, but they still trail by 86.

The issues that have put them behind have been naturally frustrating for the Italian giants, but keeping cool was got them back into competitive form in 2022, so Leclerc advises that heads remain firmly on shoulders.

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“I think the calmness is still the same,” he said.

“I think it’s fundamental that we keep this calm, because it’s the thing that made us get back to those winning days.

“It’s obviously a tough time for the team now, after the last three races and the problems that we’ve had. We need to be calm, but obviously also aware that it is an issue that we need to fix as quickly as possible. But I think we find the right balance.

“I’m confident with this team, because they are giving 200 percent as always, obviously, and I’m sure that once we fix our issues, we’ll be able to catch back Red Bull.”

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto recently affirmed that the Prancing Horses’ goal in 2022 was to go back to being competitive, and not necessarily winning the championship.

Given how far the team have come from their woeful form of the last two years, the recent struggles have been far from a disaster as far as Sainz is concerned.

“You cannot avoid the fact that we were coming into the season aiming to be competitive again and we managed to exceed even our own expectations by being so competitive,” he explained.

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“That put us into the Championship fight, but we need to remember it is our first year back [in title contention]. 

“We’ve done a massive step on the engine on power, we’ve done a massive step in understanding these regulations and we are still quite new into getting back into this fight.

“We’re suffering recently with some reliability issues but, for me, it’s fine if it’s going to happen in the rebuilding process of the team and especially when you make such a big step on the engine.

“When you realise where we are coming from, and the step we’ve managed to do this year, all of a sudden, it doesn’t look that bad. 

“We are just having a bump on the road.”

Sainz’s P2 was his 11th podium in Formula 1, but he has now started 149 races without taking victory.

His performance last weekend, however, was indicative that, surely his first win is not a million miles away.