Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has described Charles Leclerc as “a leader” in the wake of the Formula 1 squad’s troubled 2020 campaign.
Leclerc joined Ferrari for 2019 after just one year in Formula 1, in which he competed for Sauber, and his performances earned him a renewed five-year deal with the manufacturer.
Ferrari is in the midst of one of its worst campaigns in decades and currently holds sixth in the standings.
Leclerc, meanwhile, holds sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, seven places clear of outgoing team-mate Sebastian Vettel, and has scored 98 of Ferrari’s 131 points.
“On the overall season, I think it has been an important season for him, very difficult from the competitiveness point of view of our car,” said Binotto at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
“But I think that in terms of leader of the team, he is developing himself.
“He is very supportive, he understands when it’s time to support the team, when it’s time to push, when it’s time to somehow really improve.
“He’s aware that results of the future are somehow depending as well on his contribution. I think in that, he’s really a leader. Not only a driver, he developed himself quite a lot this season.”
Binotto also outlined that, only being in his third season, Leclerc is still growing as a driver.
“On top of that, he learned a lot as well in terms of driving, managing the tyres, race pace, and I think that in terms of, certainly his ability to drive, he improved again, during the season itself,” he said.
“I’m pretty sure Charles will be a strong driver in the future. He’s already very strong but he will be even stronger – and certainly next year as well.”