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Ferrari says Leclerc not 'demotivated' by early 2023 problems

Team boss Frederic Vasseur says people should not draw to conclusions on Charles Leclerc's motivation, despite the team suffering from a poor start in 2023.

Have you ever heard of a Formula 1 driver taking a grid penalty at just the second round of a season due to reliability problems? That's exactly what Charles Leclerc will do when he crosses the line at the end of his qualifying session in Jeddah this weekend. The Ferrari driver is expected to take a 10-place grid penalty for a third control electronics unit in Jeddah. But although he will start further back, Ferrari has been optimistic about their chances at the track. Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur, believes this setback will not "demotivate" Leclerc given it is just the start of what is one of the longest F1 seasons in history. "It's [Jeddah penalty] not good news, but it's not also not the end of the season," he told RacingNews365.com when asked about Leclerc's reaction to the penalty. "Let's see what's happens in Jeddah and what could be the outcome of the of the event is even with the penalty. "But don't imagine for a second he could be demotivated or something like this, he's pretty convinced, he's working with us, pushing the team, pushing everybody in a positive way."

Vasseur: It's one bad race out of 23, Leclerc is still motivated

Leclerc understandably looked dejected and sounded frustrated after dropping out of the Bahrain Grand Prix comfortably in a podium position. But as experienced team boss Vasseur points out, this can often be the case when drivers have just jumped out of their car having competed in the sweltering heats of the desert. "When you are asking a question to drivers after 40 laps in Bahrain, the guy can be a bit exhausted and not happy with the DNF," he explained. "If the guy was happy after the DNF it would be another story." Leclerc returned to the track on Tuesday with the team to run the Pirelli tyre test, and later went to Maranello on Wednesday to address the team after the disappointing start. "Charles was with us at the tyre test day in Bahrain on Tuesday, and he was at the factory on Wednesday morning [where] we had a speech with all the employees where we were all together on stage," said Vasseur. "The view is that Charles is demotivated, it's one bad race out of 23, but he is motivated. He's pushing with the team trying to get the best from everybody."

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