Charles Leclerc admits Ferrari’s ability to bounce back from its dismal 2020 with a strong level of performance so far this season provides the team with a lot of confidence for the future.
Ferrari was well off the pace at a number of tracks last season, largely down to the combination of power unit technical directives and the car it had developed when expecting to have better engine performance. This year, a much stronger power unit and more competitive car has enabled Leclerc to qualify fourth at each of the first two races and he says it makes the future look bright.
“Yes it is a big confidence boost, but I have to say that actually from the start of the year — before the first test or the first race weekend — there is very good momentum inside the team, a lot of motivation,” Leclerc said. “I’ve never been with a teammate so much before at the start of the season as with Carlos (Sainz) — we’ve been working very well together before the start of the season to prepare the season the best way possible.
“Everyone is very motivated to come back where we want to be, so there’s a lot of work behind the scenes — and it’s always a very nice feeling whenever you work a lot and then you see the results on track, because in the end that’s what matters. So it feels good but we also all know that there’s still a lot of work before getting to where we want to be, which is to fight for the title.”
Leclerc says there is an element of surprise to how strongly Ferrari has started the season, even if Lando Norris beat him and Sainz to the podium in Imola.
“Well, surprised, yes and no. Because I’ve seen all of the work that has been put into last year to just come back to where we want to be, which is not yet happening. We are fourth — we’ve done a good step forward compared to last year and I know how much everyone worked back at the factory to do a step forward from last year to this year.
“So no, on that side it’s not a surprise, but it’s nice to see that all of the work paid off and we are managing to be in a better shape this year — but there is still a lot of work to do.”