Ferrari F1 team surprised by Leclerc's rate of improvement in 2019

Ferrari Formula 1 team boss Mattia Binotto says Charles Leclerc's rate of progress since his arrival has surprised the outfit

Ferrari F1 team surprised by Leclerc's rate of improvement in 2019

The Scuderia drafted Leclerc in to replace Kimi Raikkonen for 2019, and while the Monegasque trails his four-time champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the points, he has recorded five of Ferrari's 11 podiums and has not qualified behind Vettel since June's Canadian Grand Prix.

"If I look at the first half of the season, I think [it's] very positive, the way Charles is growing," Binotto told Autosport.

"Because there was a lot of expectations at first, a lot of pressure on him, on his shoulders, because obviously driving a Ferrari is driving a Ferrari, [especially] while you are so young.

"He's a talent, we knew it, but I think he's really learning from mistakes and that's more important.

"Even his collaboration with the team, his way of supporting the team in the development of the car, is improving race by race, day by day, that's another positive of the first half.

"We knew that he was a talent, we knew that he was very strong when attacking or defending, because we could've seen that in F3 [GP3] and F2.

"I think if there's anything that's surprising us is how much he's improving through the races.

"Race after race, his weekend is becoming more solid and solid, and I think he can even do better than what's he's doing."

Binotto insisted recruiting Leclerc was "not a risk", and although the move represented a step change for Ferrari - which usually favours experience - he said he believes Leclerc is a good fit for a "young team".

He emphasised, however, that the way Vettel responded to Leclerc's arrival has also been a positive.

"He's dealing well with Charles, they are two good team-mates," added Binotto.

"He is very smart, he is very motivated, and I think that even for him it could've been a lot more difficult, that start to the season, but overall I think he knows how good he can be, and he's smart enough to understand the entire situation.

"I think he's still very supportive with the team, with himself, and he knows that he is an important pillar of our team for the present and for the future."

shares
comments
Williams must "keep perspective" over rapid gains with 2019 F1 car

Previous article

Williams must "keep perspective" over rapid gains with 2019 F1 car

Next article

How to drive a bad F1 car

How to drive a bad F1 car
Load comments
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021