Leclerc happy for Ferrari to sacrifice P3 fight for 2022 F1 title shot

Charles Leclerc says he would be happy for Ferrari to sacrifice the fight for third place in the constructors’ championship to focus on a Formula 1 title bid in 2022.

Leclerc happy for Ferrari to sacrifice P3 fight for 2022 F1 title shot

Ferrari currently finds itself battling McLaren in the race for third in the teams’ standings and to top the midfield behind the leading Mercedes and Red Bull teams.

Ferrari has already scored two pole positions courtesy of Leclerc and a podium in Monaco with Carlos Sainz Jr, but trails McLaren by 19 points in the standings.

2022 will see F1’s technical regulations be overhauled, offering teams the chance to try and vault up the order and take the fight to Mercedes and Red Bull.

Leclerc explained how he is pushing on Ferrari to place as much focus as possible on the car for 2022, revealing that he would be happy to sacrifice the remainder of this year in order to be competitive next season.

“If you had the contract in front of me telling me that we sacrifice 2021 for a competitive 2022, I will be happy to take it - but nobody has this guarantee, unfortunately,” Leclerc said on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

“[I’m pushing the team] more to focus on 2022. And I think this is clear for everyone. 2022 will be a huge opportunity for everyone. These new cars are going to stay for many years after that.

“This year, OK, we are still fighting with McLaren for the third place in the constructors, but at the end, we know that our goal is to fight for the first position very, very soon, and this will be from 2022 onwards, and not this year.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“So I will be happy to give up about the third place in the constructors in 2021 to be fighting for the first place in 2022.”

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies revealed in May that “90% to 95%” of the team’s focus was already on the 2022 car, and more recently said no further upgrades would be coming to solve the weaknesses on the SF21 car.

The team has enjoyed a significant upswing in performance this year after a miserable 2020 season that saw it slump to sixth place in the constructors’ championship, marking its worst campaign in 40 years.

Leclerc was able to take pole in Monaco and Azerbaijan, but then struggled in race trim in France before seeing qualifying become more of a weakness over one lap at the two Austria races.

“It is frustrating, because one race it's one way, the other race is the other way,” Leclerc said of Ferrari’s varying strengths and weaknesses.

“You never get the best out of both worlds. But it's part of life, I guess. And we'll try to find the right balance.”

shares
comments

Related video

British GP "designed to feel like 2019" F1 race
Previous article

British GP "designed to feel like 2019" F1 race

Next article

Aston Martin would ‘embrace’ VW Group entry to Formula 1

Aston Martin would ‘embrace’ VW Group entry to Formula 1
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Plus

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward Plus

Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward

Lewis Hamilton’s words in a recent Vanity Fair interview define both his world-view and his approach to this season: one of perpetual struggle against adversity. As GP RACING explains, that’s what Lewis feeds off – and why, far from being down and nearly out, he’s using his unique skillset to spearhead Mercedes’ revival…

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Plus

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023 - which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars Plus

How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars

While Formula 1 drivers taking part in retro events can prove costly, as Charles Leclerc discovered at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, the Goodwood Revival could prove an interesting experiment for today's stars. As the event's own Tourist Trophy race proves it means serious business, a race for current F1 drivers feels as though it’s in line with where the event is currently at

Goodwood Revival
Sep 21, 2022