Scuderia Ferrari ended the 2023 Formula One season with a podium for Charles Leclerc finishing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in second place behind race winner Max Verstappen.
Speaking following the race, Leclerc, who started the race second commented saying:
Today, I had a very good car and the strategy was the right one. I could have pushed hard for many laps on the Medium tyres and my second place was never in danger. Unfortunately, in the end, Checo’s (Perez) five second penalty cost us a lot. Towards the end I tried to help him to build a gap over George (Russell) so that he could wipe out the penalty and finish ahead of the Mercedes, which would have put us ahead of them in the classification. However, looking back at the season, we can say it has been positive. We started the year with a car that we could not push to the limit. We knew what the problem was, but it took a while to change things. From Japan onwards my Ferrari became a very different car, capable of very good results. Unfortunately, over the course of the year there were several occasions when we were in a strong position but left points on the table: I’m thinking of my retirement in Bahrain when I was third, or in Brazil, where I qualified on the front row but I never actually started the race. I hope that, over the winter, we will be able to put everything we have learned to good use in order to be competitive right from the start of next season. We want to give something back to our fans for all their continued support.
Carlos Sainz was classified as a DNF in 18th following a tricky weekend for the Spaniard. Speaking following the race Carlos said:
Not the way we wanted to finish the season, with a very tough double-header on my side in Las Vegas and here in Abu Dhabi. The race today was never going to be easy. The first stint on the Hard was risky and it didn’t go to plan. From there on our race was a bit compromised and we waited for a Safety Car that never came. It hurts badly to miss P2 in the Constructors but there have been plenty of positives throughout the year and we will of course work on the things we could’ve done better. I want to thank the entire team, here and back home in Maranello, for their incredible effort all season long and also send a massive thank you to every single fan for their relentless support. We will regroup during the winter and come back stronger next year. Grazie a tutti e Forza Ferrari sempre.
Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal and CEO Frédéric Vasseur said:
We are happy to have finished a far from easy season with a solid performance from Charles. Unfortunately, Carlos’ weekend took a turn for the worse starting from Friday and it’s a shame he was unable to bring home the three points but it’s not today that we lost second place in the Constructors’. Clearly, as Ferrari, we’re never that interested in finishing second, but it would still have been a reward for everyone who worked hard at the track and those who always gave it everything they had back in Maranello ever since the SF-23 first rolled out onto the Fiorano track. But the whole group can be pleased with how it reacted and fought back in the second part of the season. After the summer break that followed the Dutch Grand Prix, we made constant progress, to the point that we are the only team apart from Red Bull to have won a race. Charles ended the season with a string of strong performances and Carlos also had some very positive races including that Singapore win of course. The curtain comes down on Tuesday after the test and we are already looking ahead to the next one. We are determined to continue with the progress we have demonstrated over the past ten races.