Charles Leclerc is pumped to be back in the Jeddah paddock, even
though he will have to take a grid penalty in this second race of the
season, following the fitment of a third control unit on his SF-23.
Interesting challenge. “There’s no denying the start of the season hasn’t gone the way we had hoped,” said the Monegasque during his press meeting. “A retirement in Bahrain and a penalty here is definitely not what we wanted. But when I got back to Maranello after the Sakhir race, I found a united group all pulling in the same direction. It was the atmosphere I was expecting to find and it means I’m particularly motivated for this weekend. I think this track will suit our SF-23 better than Sakhir and the problem that stopped me there has been fixed, so I’m confident that in the race we have the potential to make up places quickly and get up to the front.”
Variables. Charles doubts he can match the pace of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but that aside, anything is possible. “I expect to be competitive in qualifying and that on Sunday we can be in the mix. The Safety Car often plays its part here and we will have to be brave to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself. Having to come from behind, I’ll be aggressive as is my nature and I hope the long straights will help us out.”