Formula 1

Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies optimistic ahead of race day in Austin: “The F1-75 is clearly very competitive here”

2 Mins read
Credit: Ferrari Media

Scuderia Ferrari Racing Director Laurent Mekies reflected on a tricky but successful qualifying for the team at the United States Grand Prix, with Carlos Sainz taking pole position and Charles Leclerc finishing just thousandths off the pace in second. 

“The whole team did a great job in what was one of the trickiest qualifying sessions of the season. Yesterday we did less preparation work than usual, as we only really had one session to do that, because of the 2023 tyre test. 

“On top of that, as the session got underway, strong winds made life difficult and in this situation Carlos and Charles did a very good job, dialled in to their cars to the extent that in Q2, with both of them being able to go through to Q3 on a scrubbed set of tyres.” 

Mekies said that Sainz earned his pole with a “perfect” lap, deserving of the top spot after coming markedly close on several occasions this year. In spite of the stellar one-two result for Ferrari, the team won’t be locking out the front row due to Leclerc’s ten-place grid penalty for the replacement of engine elements.

“Carlos put together the perfect lap and this pole is well-deserved after he has come within a few hundreds of being quickest on more than one occasion this year. If it was not for Charles’ penalty, we’d be looking at an all-Ferrari front row.”

Mekies also credited Ferrari’s performance at qualifying to the team members that worked hard to nail down preparation ahead of the session. Mekies is optimistic about the competitiveness of F1-75 at Circuit of the Americas, being a track with a variety of unique features.

“Today’s result is also down to the team, at the track and in Maranello, allowing us to prepare and manage qualifying to perfection. the F1-75 is clearly very competitive here at what is one of the most complete tracks on the calendar, with its fast corners, long straights and slow speed sections, making it a really demanding test of a car.”

The United States Grand Prix is set to be an exciting and complicated race from a strategy perspective, with several teams in the hunt for the top spots at the high-degradation circuit. Mekies said that the team will be focused on ensuring Sainz has the best possible start off the line from pole, and that Leclerc can work his way through the field. 

“There are many variables that can affect tomorrow’s race, with tyre degradation a factor in addition to the tricky nature of the track. It looks to be a two-stop race and we know from today that the gaps are incredibly small between us and our competitors. We are gearing up for a six-car fight and it will be important for Carlos to get a good start and to manage his tyres well, while Charles will be coming through from the mid-field.”

After the news of Red Bull Founder Dietrich Mateschitz’s passing, Mekies shared his sympathy for both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri in light of the loss of a key leader in motorsport and beyond. 

“Finally, we want to offer our condolences to the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams for the loss of Dietrich Mateschitz. His passion for racing and indeed all sports will be much missed by everyone.”

Credit: Ferrari Media
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