Leclerc eager to 'stop the talk and get back to driving'
Charles Leclerc says Ferrari is focused on "spending its energy right" amid a whirlwind of rumors surrounding the team, with the Monegasque personally eager to "stop the talk and get back to driving".
Ferrari's opening performance in Bahrain fell painfully short of expectations with the Scuderia's 2023 package comprehensively outpaced by Red Bull in qualifying and in race trim.
Adding insult to injury, Leclerc retired from third in the race at Sakhir due to an engine issue while teammate Carlos Sainz crossed the checkered flag a distant fourth.
The poor showing was enough to spark a wave of rumors in the Italian media claiming that chaos had set in at the House of Maranello.
However a meeting last week of the Scuderia's staff proved positive, with Leclerc joining in to convey an upbeat message to the troops.
"Well yes, because it's only the first race of the season," he said on Thursday in Jeddah. "I still believe in it and, of course, we still need to all believe in it.
"We've still got many, many races to go and we still need to be fighting like crazy to be back at the top.
“It hasn't gone as planned and when it's Ferrari that doesn't go as well as it should, then there are 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 same direction and make a difference and come back stronger.
“And I feel that this has been the case in the last few weeks, so I'm really looking forward to being back on track. Stop the talk and get back to driving."
Leclerc said that he had inevitably taken notice of the rumors and negative stories involving the team, but while taking part in the staff meeting in Maranello, he was surprised by the positive reaction that he witnessed.
"Honestly, I obviously saw these rumours and then I went to Maranello," he said.
"So at first I was not sure how the team is going to react to it. But then we've had a meeting with a whole team, with all the Ferrari employees.
"And I was really surprised. Everybody's fully on it and fully positive, which is great."
Among the stories published by the Italian media this was a report that alleged that Leclerc had requested a meeting with Ferrari chairman John Elkann to address the team's situation.
The story was rubbished in short order by the five-time Grand Prix winner.
"This is absolutely untrue," he said. "I mean, again, there have been loads of rumours around the team, and for once 90% of them were completely unfounded.
"I don't know from where it is coming. And to be honest, I don't even want to spend any energy on trying to find from where it's coming from, we just need to be on it, and focus on ourselves."
Unfortunately, Leclerc will start his weekend on the back foot as the result of a 10-place grid drop levied upon him following Ferrari's inevitable decision to add a third control electronics element to his power unit inventory.
However, the 25-year-old will give it his best on Sunday and "try to do something special".
"This weekend we obviously start it on the back foot," he said. "But our target is to try and do something special.
"I like the challenge of starting a little bit more on the back foot and trying to do something a little more special and come back to the front as quickly as possible."
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter
The post Leclerc eager to 'stop the talk and get back to driving' appeared first on F1i.com.