Leclerc’s Ferrari Engineer Change Decision Explained

Charles Leclerc has expressed his surprise regarding the replacement of his longtime race engineer, Xavi Marcos, stating that he was unaware of any plans until Ferrari informed him of the change.

This revelation follows Ferrari’s recent announcement that Marcos would be assuming a new role within the team, with his duties as Leclerc’s engineer being taken over by Bryan Bozzi, Ferrari’s current performance engineer.

The decision by Ferrari to make such a change mid-season represents a departure from tradition and is seen as a bold move within the Formula 1 community.

Similar shifts in race engineers within the team during a season are rare, with the last notable instance dating back to 2006 when Rob Smedley was appointed as Felipe Massa’s race engineer.

When pressed for insights into the reasoning behind the change and the potential implications, particularly given the intense competition at the front of the F1 grid, Leclerc offered little clarity on the matter.

Speaking at Imola on Thursday, the Monegasque driver acknowledged the tight nature of the competition, stating, “Obviously it’s very, very tight in the front and everything makes a difference.”

“However, the decision was made between the team and Xavi. They’ve had other plans in mind, I guess, and it was communicated to me right after Miami.

“But having said that, Bryan, who will take the role of Xavi from now onwards, is a person I have been working with since I arrived in Ferrari.

“He’s always been my performance engineer, so he knows exactly how everything works. So, it’s not like I’m starting from zero and it’s going to be a complete re-adaptation.

“It’s been super smooth until now, and I’m sure it will continue that way and we’ll be at our 100% already from this weekend. That’s all I can say.”

Amidst the limited information regarding the engineer change, Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur took the initiative to shed light on the rationale behind the decision.

Vasseur clarified, “Bryan was there before me. He was with Charles for a long time, and they have a very, very good technical collaboration. They rate each other very highly.

“It was, I think, the normal step for Bryan also, and you know that we are in a kind of continuous improvement. We were thinking that Bryan was a step forward for us and, at the end of the day, we are fighting for thousandths of a second.

“If you have the feeling that you have something a bit better somewhere, it’s always good to go for it and not to say, let’s stay like we are.

“I’m really convinced that Bryan is very good. He has experience of the car, and the experience of the crew. He knows everybody in the team and the adaptation will be very easy.”