Charles Leclerc has outlined that Ferrari’s primary aim is to go one better than last year by winning the Formula 1 World Championship in 2023.
Despite winning two of the opening three races last season, Ferrari’s title challenge soon derailed, allowing Max Verstappen and Red Bull to win both championships with several rounds to spare.
Leclerc was eventually able to hold off Sergio Perez to clinch a career-best second in the Drivers’ standings, while Ferrari defeated Mercedes in its battle for the runner-up spot in the Constructors’ Championship.
After missing out on ending its protracted title drought again last season, Leclerc has stated that Ferrari’s main intention for 2023 is to deliver the championship back to Maranello.
“Well, that’s the goal. For sure,” Leclerc responded when asked if Ferrari can win the title this year.
“They’ve had a strong start, Red Bull, and Max seems to be very, very strong. It’s only testing, so it’s difficult to quantify by how much but it seems that they are a bit in front, compared to us.
“So we’ve got some work to do but it’s only the beginning. But the goal is definitely to go one better.”
Ferrari has elected to run an evolution of the 2022 car that returned it to winning ways with its brand new SF-23 package for the upcoming season.
The Italian side was able to come through testing without trouble, with its new team principal, Fred Vasseur, boasting the team had completed the run programme it set out.
But, with Red Bull appearing ominously quick, Leclerc has predicted Ferrari is currently a bit behind the reigning champions – although he has warned that only qualifying will reveal the true answers.
“We didn’t show everything – but Red Bull didn’t show everything,” he cautioned. Nobody showed everything. We will only see in Qualifying.
“So yeah, it’s very difficult to know exactly how we are. But global picture just tells me we are maybe a bit behind.
Following two winless years, Ferrari excelled at the start of F1’s newest era last term to emphatically register a 1-2 finish at the first race in Bahrain.
But the sport’s most successful team was swiftly out developed by Red Bull, leading to Ferrari claiming victory in none of the races beyond the summer break.
Although Leclerc expects Red Bull to be on top in Bahrain, the Monegasque driver has countered that the development race throughout the season will be a more significant factor.
“It’s important, but as we’ve seen last year, it’s not everything,” Leclerc argued on the priority of winning the first race. “And the development throughout the season is as important if not more.
“So yeah, I think we’ve had anyway very good testing in a way, that we did a lot of laps, we didn’t have any reliability problems. And we did all the tests that we wanted to do in order to do all the scan that we wanted to do on the on the car, which is really, really important.
“So the tests were positive. Now to see exactly where we are compared to the others. We’ll have to wait,” the Ferrari star added.
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