Ex-Ferrari engineer reveals what Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton have in common

Ferrari have fallen a long way back from Red Bull since Charles Leclerc's second win in Melbourne.

Former Ferrari engineer, Rob Smedley, reckons that Charles Leclerc’s ability to lead the team through tough phases is something that makes him stand out.

The Scuderia have not had it easy in the last few seasons; they have in fact not won a title in any capacity since 2008.

Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen brought home the last of the 31 titles Ferrari have won between the Drivers’ and Team’s Championships 14 years ago, and the wait is continuing.

Only four times since 2008 have the Scuderia gone through a full season without winning a single race, two of which took place in as many years in 2020 and 2021.

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Their last victory before 2022 had come at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel and, despite eight podiums between himself, Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in the two seasons that followed, a win never materialised.

That all changed this season when Leclerc won in Bahrain, and again in Melbourne two rounds later, so it looked as though this would finally be the Italian side’s crowning moment.

However, a series of driver errors, reliability failures and, perhaps most hurtfully, strategic mistakes have taken place since then.

Leclerc and Sainz have claimed one win a piece since round three, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez earning eight of the last 10 between them.

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The mood in the Ferrari camp has fluctuated between hope and disappointment, but Smedley, like a select few before Leclerc and conjointly with him, sees the Monegasque as the glue that keeps things together.

“He, Max and [Sir] Lewis [Hamilton] are able to raise the level of the whole team, dragging others along and conveying a winning spirit,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“[It is] the same ability that Michael Schumacher had at Ferrari, when he was a catalyst, surrounded by [Jean] Todt, [Ross] Brawn and [Rory] Byrne.

“From these drivers comes the drive to react to mistakes and improve.”

Former Ferrari sporting director, Cesare Fiorio, does not believe that team principal Mattia Binotto is at fault for a lot of the misfortune that has befallen his team this year.

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However, the 83-year-old warned his compatriot that he needs to make changes, as having a good car is no longer the only requisite at Maranello.

“Mattia now has to find solutions so that the team works better,” explained Fiorio.

“In today’s Formula 1, everything has to work almost perfectly to win, that was different at Ferrari in the days of Todt and Schumacher.

“Ferrari sometimes had such a blatantly superior car that one or the other mistake could be concealed, that’s no longer possible today.

“However, Red Bull are a notably stronger rival than those Ferrari faced in the past.”

Charles Leclerc trails Max Verstappen by 80 points in the Drivers’ Standings, with the Red Bull team 97 in front in the teams’ conversation.