Charles Leclerc says the strength of this year’s Ferrari means he doesn’t have to try and outperform the car to secure good results.
Ferrari has emerged as the leading team in Formula 1 under the 2022 regulations, with Leclerc securing two pole positions and two victories from the opening three races. His return of 71 points is just seven shy of the maximum available so far, and the 2017 Formula 2 champion says he’s able to iron out mistakes because he is not pushing beyond certain limits trying to get more out of an uncompetitive car.
“I’ve been in this situation in the junior categories but then to be in this situation in Formula 1 means a lot, especially after the last few years, and especially with a team like Ferrari,” Leclerc said. “So it feels incredible.
“Obviously, the mindset is a bit different compared to the last two years because now I know that underneath me I’ve got a car that is capable of winning and I don’t really have to overdo things, or to do something extremely special and spectacular to actually get one or two positions. I know that it’s in the car and I just have to do the job. So the mindset is a little bit different this year.”
Ferrari has enjoyed strong starts to previous seasons but seen its relative competitiveness fall away — most recently in 2017 and 2018 after early championship leads — but Leclerc is confident there will be no such repeat this year.
“To keep up with Red Bull in terms of development is going to be difficult, but it’s the same team that did this car, that will work on the development for this year’s car, so I am confident. There is no reason for us to be on the back foot because the guys at Maranello have done a great job building up this car for this year.
“There are some developments coming and I’m confident that it will go in the right direction. So I wouldn’t focus too much on the others. I think we need to focus on ourselves. The last two years, I really see a jump in the way we’ve analyzed every weekend, the way we have identified our weaknesses and how quick we were to react to try and get better in the places where we were struggling. So yeah, I am confident that the team can do a great job with development this year.”