After 2020 being one of Ferrari’s worst-ever Formula one seasons, finishing 6th in the constructors’ championship, Charles Leclerc says it is possible for the team to make a huge step forward, fighting for P3 against McLaren this season.
Charles Leclerc looks very optimistic about this year’s Ferrari F1 car. The Monegasque once more proved his astonishing pace, putting his SF21 on the second row at the start of the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix.
This incredible performance showed how better Leclerc is feeling compared to last year in this season’s Ferrari’s single-seater. The 23 years old even went so far as to say that the Italian team should be a realistic contender for third place in the constructors’ championship, pointing out the fact that the Maranello-based squad lost performance, compared to last year, but way less than the other teams did.
“[The new car] is a significant step forward.
“We’ve seen in Bahrain that we’ve had a better progression compared to the other teams from last year to this year,” said Leclerc.
“I think a realistic goal for this year will be to be just behind Red Bull and Mercedes. (…) Realistically, I think it’s going to be very difficult to fight with them; we are too far behind for now, but we are in the fight with four, five other teams for the third place in the constructors’. So it’s going to be a tight fight, but if we do everything perfect, I think it’s reachable,” he added.
The Monegasque prodigy, therefore, showed how happy he is with the improvements Ferrari made during this offseason. It is important to remember that the Scuderia is currently working on a brand new power unit concept and this leap forward in terms of performances shows how good the Italian team worked during this offseason.
Nonetheless, Leclerc keeps it real, saying that the team is still not where it should be as Ferrari is a championship contender and Leclerc was promised to be able to fight for championships when he signed his multi-year deal with the team.
“So this is positive, but on the other hand, we are still not fighting where we want to be fighting, so we are putting all of our efforts to try and come back to where we want to be, which is fighting for wins. But if you compare last year to this year, we’ve done a good job and we need to keep working like this,” Leclerc said.
However, the 23 years old is confident the team knows where they have a lot to play for, and on what they should focus on. Indeed, with the radical new regulations coming up in 2022, if Ferrari is able to develop a competitive concept, they will surely come back in the championship fight, probably against Mercedes and Red Bull.
“I don’t think we are getting carried away by the fight there will be during the season… for the third place in the constructors’. (…) I think everyone is well aware that there is much more to gain to prepare 2022 in the right way, because these new cars will last for a lot longer, for many years after 2022, so we need to be ready for that, and I think we are getting ready as we should for this transition, so I’m not worried about that.”