Leclerc has shown he can fight for title - Binotto

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Leclerc has shown he can fight for title - Binotto

Formula 1

Leclerc has shown he can fight for title - Binotto


Charles Leclerc’s performances in the first two races of the 2022 season have shown he can fight for the drivers’ championship, according to Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto.

Ferrari has started the year competitive, with Leclerc winning from pole in Bahrain and then starting and finishing second in Saudi Arabia, losing out to Max Verstappen in a close fight for victory. Binotto says he has no doubt that Leclerc has the potential to be a world champion for Ferrari and believes the first two rounds have proven Leclerc can deliver with the right car.

“I think he is [capable of fighting for the title],” Binotto said. “But it is something which I was expecting. So when renewing with him last year up to 2024, it’s because we know [what] he is capable of, and I think he has simply demonstrated that he is capable of fighting for the championship — no doubt.

“He has got the talent; He has got the capacity. He is a very good racer and very happy with what he is doing in these races.”

Leclerc also feels confident he has what it takes to mount a sustained title challenge, as he has identified areas for improvement from the first two rounds to make his championship fight stronger.

“I’m quite happy with this start of the season for sure — working well with the team and the preparation for the first race was very good,” Leclerc said. “I feel good in general but there’s definitely more to come. The thing I’m happy about is not really the performance, but I know exactly where I still need to work and where/what I need to improve to unlock more performance.

“Whether it will be enough…to win the world championship, I have no idea. It’s still very early in the season. As I said many times, I think development will be key and we as drivers need to help the team in the best way possible to keep this competitiveness.”

Despite 2022 shaping up to be Leclerc’s first title tilt in Formula 1, he says he hasn’t relied on studying how other drivers have handled such a scenario to help him prepare.

“I think I learn more from my own experiences. Every driver has their own driving style — I have my own one. I think in the wheel-to-wheel battle I am quite strong and you always try to be better. Max — I know him quite well since karting already. We have had some great battles and grown up together which I think helped us grow in our own way, so I have learned more from my own experiences than watching others.”