Charles Leclerc endured a torrid start to the 2023 season, leaving the Bahrain GP with zero points. The Monegasque was on course for a third-place finish when a battery-related issue forced him to retire. With returning issues troubling Ferrari, many speculated that Leclerc had lost faith in the team.
According to Italian media publication Funo Analisi Technica, the 25-year-old has dismissed any speculations regarding an early switch to a different team. The Monegasque has clearly stated his intentions to stay with the team. Leclerc has also admitted his fervor to becoming an F1 World Champion but added that he would like to do it with Ferrari.
Charles Leclerc has no intention of leaving Ferrari and would even like to tie his future further to the team.
The Monegasque does want to become a Formula One world champion as soon as possible. But he wants to do it with Ferrari.#F1 #SaudiArabianGP pic.twitter.com/k5UBDOn9cL
— Fastest Pitstop (@FastestPitStop) March 13, 2023
Charles Leclerc was promoted to the team back in 2019. After his debut in red, Leclerc got a genuine shot at a title challenge last season. He had a stellar start to the season as his rivals suffered from reliability issues. However, as the season unfolded, reliability woes and strategy blunders from Ferrari led to a runaway championship for Max Verstappen and Red Bull.
Entering the 2023 season, Leclerc had high hopes of improving on his vice-champion finish from last season. After the first race of the season, the team seems to have taken a step in the wrong direction. With Aston Martin making a huge performance jump and beating Ferrari in race pace, the Italian outfit needs to out-develop its rivals.
We have a lot of work to do. Not the first race we wanted to have, struggling with the pace in the race and unfortunately not finishing the race because of a reliability problem.
Two weeks to push flat out and react starting from Jeddah! pic.twitter.com/qKMYvJqB7M
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) March 5, 2023
Charles Leclerc has reinstated his faith in the team, as the Maranello-based outfit hopes to solve their problem before the second race of the season in Jeddah.
Can Charles Leclerc compete with the Red Bulls?
Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen had contrasting starts to the season. While Leclerc retired, the reigning world champion cruised to the checkered flag followed by his teammate Sergio Perez. Despite a disappointing start to the season, Frederic Vasseur is confident that the team is capable of making a comeback.
The Ferrari team principal is confident the team can challenge the mighty Red Bulls, given how close the qualifying gap was in Bahrain. The Frenchman believes that the SF-23 can be developed to challenge the defending champion in a few races.
Vassuer stated to F1:
“I never saw a car able to match the pace of another one in quali and not be able to in the race. It’s a matter of setup and some choices on the car – it’s not a matter of concept at all.”
He added about the team’s development direction:
“The most important [thing] now is to be able to have a clear picture of the situation, where we are failing, do a proper analysis on this and to come back stronger as soon as possible.”
Uniti tutto è possibile ❤️
After our first race of the season, Fred, joined by Charles and Carlos, held a meeting for all our GES employees. A chance to discuss our weekend, the challenges we faced and the future ahead 💪 pic.twitter.com/0c44NtroUp
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) March 9, 2023
Ferrari occupy fourth in the constructor standings, a stunning contrast to how they started their 2022 campaign. However, the team is confident that the season opener was an anomaly and further pace can be extracted from the car.