Charles Leclerc, the great disappointment
If any driver had a poor, below-the-expectations start to the season, that is Charles Leclerc. Much is awaited from the Ferrari driver, but so far, his performances have nothing but disappointed the fans, but it’s not entirely his fault.
With only six points after three races, the Monegasque is positioned P10 in the standings and it looks like his season start couldn’t have been worse. In Bahrain, he abandoned the race due to mechanical problems with his car. Last weekend in Australia, he crashed with Lance Stroll at turn three and couldn’t continue. His only points came from that P7 finish in Jeddah.
His following comments perfectly sums up his feelings and what his season start has been like: “I think, instead of thinking long term targets, I think just finishing a race without any penalties or issues whatsoever is a priority,” he said.
Undoubtedly, it is what he needs: to think and work each Grand Prix to obtain satisfactory results -within his possibilities-, rebuild his confidence and improve race by race. And along with this, it only remains to hope that the team manages to improve the car to be able to -minimally- fight for a podium.
Coupled with his poor performance and conspicuous lack of confidence, the team is unresponsive. Ferrari has not been able to develop a car that fights for the title and that is reliable for its drivers for years. Technical problems and slow pit stops are present in every race and affect the performance of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
The 2020 and 2021 seasons were bad for the Scuderia but last year the car improved, they got victories, podiums, and pole positions. Everything indicated that 2023 would follow the same line and it would be a great year, but so far, the car has regressed enormously and the hopes of fighting for the top positions are fading.
Since his debut in 2018, Leclerc has positioned himself as a diamond in the rough and a future world champion. In addition, his performances in the minor categories confirmed his ability. His arrival at the most decorated team in the history of the sport back in 2019 indicated that the title and his successes could come soon. Unfortunately for them and the tifosi, this did not happen.
Although he managed to win 5 times and was runner-up last year, so far, he has not been a real contender for the title. On the one hand this is due to him and his team, and on the other hand, it is due to the impressive dominance of Red Bull.
Leclerc and Ferrari must return to being the duo that they were at the beginning of the 2022 season with 2 victories and a podium in the remaining race. They were very fast and seemed unreachable. Will they do it again? At the moment it seems impossible, but they are capable of improving, giving the public a show and obtaining results that will transform this disappointing start into a decent season.
Beyond the present problems, Ferrari continues to be a mythical team and Leclerc has the necessary talent to be World Champion, so the expectation that they will be able to position the red brand again at the top of the podium (in this or in the coming years) is always latent.