Ferrari are currently blowing their best chance in over 10 years to win either the Drivers’ or Constructors’ Championship, with a number of strategic errors and reliability problems having put the top step almost out of reach.
Charles Leclerc has enjoyed his best season yet in Formula 1, after claiming three victories in the first half of the season; however, it should be so many more.
The Monegasque is currently 80-points behind Max Verstappen in the championship, after losing the race lead three times due to strategic errors; twice due to power unit failures, and once through his own mistake.
Had none of the above happened, then there is every chance that Leclerc would’ve won possibly nine of the thirteen races to have taken place this season.
Whilst reliability problems are somewhat uncontrollable, Ferrari’s strategic errors have been far too costly, and have occurred far too often.
The team are 97-points behind Red Bull Racing in the Constructors’ Championship, with just nine races remaining.
Ferrari should arguably be considerably closer in both championships, with the F1-75 being the fastest car this season.
The pressure of winning a title seems like it may be playing a part in why the Italian’s have buckled under the pressure, something which would never have happened in the early 2000s.
Ferrari haven’t won the Drivers’ Championship since 2007 (Kimi Raikkonen’s title-winning year) and the Constructors’ since 2008.
Despite this, Leclerc insists that he isn’t thinking about Ferrari’s championship drought and that it’s not something affecting his side, as he looks to have a strong second half of the season.
“I mean, I don’t think about this,” said Leclerc, when asked by the media if the way he was driving was impacted by wanting to end the title drought.
“Even though Ferrari remains Ferrari of 2000, the team is very different, and we are [in] a different place now.
“The last few years have been very difficult for us [Ferrari dropped to sixth in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship].
“We did an incredible step from last year to this year to be fighting for wins and obviously, the goal remains to be World Champion.
“It still remains the same goal for me, even though that now is going to be more difficult.
“But it doesn’t add pressure that it has been so many years, and we haven’t won.”
Leclerc’s season has been impacted massively by Ferrari’s incompetence, yet the Monegasque has continued to defend his team despite having been a victim of his team’s errors.
The 24-year-old is convinced that the Scuderia have what it takes to end their title drought, and that 2022 might still be his and Ferrari’s year.
“I think that the base now is there to win a championship, we just need to put everything together,” the Monegasque said.
“Reliability has been a problem this year in which we’ve lost loads of points [potentially 50 for Leclerc through engine failures while leading in Spain and Azerbaijan], and we’ll try to grow from that.
“Hopefully, if we don’t have these [problems] for the rest of the year, things are still possible. But I still remain positive.”