Charles Leclerc makes title claim, reveals major Ferrari upgrade package

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc claimed victory at the Australian Grand Prix 12 months ago following a dominant display.

Ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc has assured that himself and Ferrari still have every chance of winning the 2023 title, despite their challenging start to the campaign.

Leclerc has arguably faced the most difficult start to the 2023 F1 season out of the frontrunning drivers, with the Monegasque having already been plagued once again by reliability gremlins.

The 25-year-old was looking set to start the season with a podium in Bahrain, only for an engine failure to end his hopes of a positive start to the year.

His retirement in Bahrain was put down to his second set of control electronics having failed, something which was a huge concern for Ferrari given that the first set also had issues, resulting in the second set being fitted before the race.

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With each driver only being allowed two sets of control electronics this season, Leclerc was slapped with a 10-place grid penalty in Saudi Arabia, due to having been fitted with a third set.

To his credit, he would’ve qualified second with the grid penalty after a strong qualifying; however, actually started P12.

In the second race of the season he could only recover to seventh behind his team-mate, with Ferrari having struggled for race pace.

Heading into the Albert Park Circuit this weekend, Leclerc will be hopeful that he can enjoy a much stronger round, given that he was victorious in Melbourne 12 months ago.

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It was after he won the Australian GP that people began to really rate Leclerc as the title favourite, something which currently isn’t the case this season due to Ferrari’s issues, and Red Bull’s dominance.

Leclerc, though, believes it’s far too soon to be ruling Ferrari or himself out of title contention, with the Maranello-based team set to introduce “quite a bit of upgrades” in the coming rounds.

“Of course, it is,” Leclerc told reporters when asked if the title is still possible.

“It’s still very early on in the season then we cannot hide ourselves by saying that everything is fine and that from this weekend onwards we’ll be fighting for wins again.

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“We need to be realistic with ourselves and the way it is now we are far away from the performance we want to be but that doesn’t mean we need to demotivate ourselves because the season is long.

“We have quite a bit of upgrades coming in the next few races. Hopefully this will help us to close the gap with Red Bull, who are in another league, but also Aston Martin who are really strong.

“We need to work on this. In no way do we think that the title is out of reach. We are still very early on in the season.”