Last year Charles Leclerc had won two of the first three races of the Formula 1 championship, but then at the end of the year he had to settle for second place in the Drivers’ standings, finishing with a huge gap (146 points) behind world champion Max Verstappen. This year the first race of the season ended in the worst possible way for the Monegasque, with a retirement due to problems related to the power unit which denied him the possibility of getting on the third step of the podium.
The 2023 F1 championship is very long and even the events from the previous one 12 months ago – with Max Verstappen and Red Bull able to recover 46 points behind and easily going on to win the titles – can give confidence to the Ferrari #16. The problem, however, is that to achieve such a comeback, you need a single-seater up to par, at least as competitive as the one available to the Dutch champion. From the first impressions that were provided following the Sakhir weekend, however, the SF-23 does not appear to be able of challenging the RB19, at least at this stage of the season.
The Monegasque is experiencing the situation that is emerging at Ferrari with concern, with the atmosphere within the team that seems to not be ideal due to the Benedetto Vigna – Fred Vasseur contrasts, as the French manager does not have the freedom to make decisions on key matters, but rather has to accept the indications received from the Ferrari chief executive officer. In addition to this, there is a single-seater that doesn’t seem to have been designed according to expectations. However, for Charles Leclerc and Scuderia Ferrari to be able to give Red Bull a hard time is not only of interest to the parties involved, but to the entire Formula 1. In a long interview with La Stampa, former Ferrari boss and current F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali also spoke about this and advised Charles Leclerc to take on the role of a leading driver in the Maranello team.
Charles Leclerc must become a leader
“A great driver must be a point of reference for the team. These are important years for him, he must demand a competitive car and avoid mistakes“, said Stefano Domenicali, former team principal of Ferrari in the years in which the ‘captain’ of the red team was Fernando Alonso. If Ferrari wins, Formula 1 is happy – added the Italian manager again, recognizing the importance of the Prancing Horse brand – but today the competition is much tougher. The approach is different, saying ‘we are Ferrari’ is no longer enough. The top management of the company have made choices that will bear fruit, the important thing is not to get caught up in emotion”.
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection! Click here to enter the F1 online Store and shop securely! And also get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
Finally, the Formula One boss invited everyone to think back to what happened last year before considering this World Championship as already finished: “In 2022, after three Grands Prix, Ferrari had a fifty-point lead, Max Verstappen said ‘game over’, the championship seemed over. Then we know what Red Bull did.” – he concluded.