Leclerc sure Ferrari will struggle more than in 2019

Charles Leclerc says he is "99%" sure that Ferrari is going to face a more difficult campaign than it had last year.

Leclerc sure Ferrari will struggle more than in 2019

With the Italian outfit having elected to revamp its current car after a disappointing pre-season test, it knows that until the changes come on board for the Hungarian Grand Prix then it could struggle.

The wait for the upgrades could be enough to allow rivals Mercedes and Red Bull to pull clear and, if the season ends up being truncated, then the lost ground could wreck any hopes of a title challenge.

Reflecting on the team's situation ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, Leclerc said: "I think it's going to be a very challenging season for us. It's definitely not going to be easy.

"We still have this question mark, and we still have to wait for qualifying to be sure about what we say: even though we are 99% sure that we will be struggling more than last year."

Read Also:

Leclerc said that Ferrari's decision to go for a car revamp came during lockdown, when the team had more time to look back over the data from testing than it had had before the original season start in Australia.

"I think after the testing, we more or less knew that we were not where we wanted to be, especially on the qualifying pace," he said. "Then there's been this whole situation with coronavirus, everything was closed.

"Once they reopened, we re-analysed the data with the small amount of time we had, and I think we decided to make a step back to try and analyse from where the issue is coming from first, to then work on the issues.

"That's where we're at at the moment. We have tried a different route for Budapest."

Teammate Sebastian Vettel said he was intrigued to know just where Ferrari will stack up this weekend after its disappointing showing in pre-season testing.

"I think after the test in Barcelona, it was clear we were not where we wanted to be," he explained. "Obviously we were excited to go to Australia and see if that was true or not. I think in a way the same is true for here.

"It will be interesting to see where we are, to get an answer on that, and then we have to take it from there. I think at this stage, also it's unknown how long the season would be.

"I think at the moment we have eight races scheduled. Whether we will have these eight races, whether we will have more, a lot of things are unknown."

shares
comments

Related video

Revealed: Renault’s key element of its triple F1 update package
Previous article

Revealed: Renault’s key element of its triple F1 update package

Next article

Hamilton confident of Mercedes reliability fixes for Austria

Hamilton confident of Mercedes reliability fixes for Austria
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022