Charles Leclerc admits that Red Bull may have a slight advantage over Ferrari at the start of the 2023 Formula 1 season, but insists he’s not worried.
Charles Leclerc concurs with the overwhelming opinion in the F1 paddock believing Red Bull are one step ahead of the competition as the 2023 season kicks off this weekend in Bahrain.
However Leclerc is not worried about that, given the long 23-race season ahead which means Ferrari have enough time to reel Red Bull in.
“In terms of pecking order, I have my idea, not supported by engineer data, but my idea,” he added. “I feel like Red Bull is a little bit ahead, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s only the first race of the season [and] the season is extremely long.
“As I’ve said many times, last year we finished second in the drivers’ and constructors’ championship, now the next step to improve is being a world champion, so this is still our target,” the Monegasque maintained.
Lots of points covered in pre-season testing
Leclerc is happy with Ferrari’s preparations for the new season, he said: “We did loads of tests during testing, which helped us better understand the car, which was really, really important for us.
“We got through our planned programme and did all the tests we were meant to do,” the Ferrari driver went on. “It seems that we have made some steps forward compared to last year.
“I’d say this year’s car is quicker down the straights and slightly slower in the corners, but that’s what we were looking for to overcome our limitations from last season,” he revealed.
“There is still work to do, as we know we are up against very tough opponents and, in the case of the reigning champions, they seem to have a slight edge over us at the moment,” Leclerc maintained.
Leclerc finished the 2022 F1 season runner up to Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship, while Ferrari were second best after Red Bull in the Constructors’ Standings.