Having not won the constructors’ championship since 2008, it seemed that the new era of Formula 1 would see Ferrari end their title drought after a strong start under the new regulations.
The Scuderia came flying put of the blocks in Bahrain with a one-two finish and Charles Leclerc continued his strong form to pull away from Max Verstappen in the championship, who was struggling with reliability issues.
Despite boasting the fastest car for the majority of the season, Ferrari often let themselves down with reliability issues and poor strategy calls that cost both of their drivers a multitude of points.
Max Verstappen and Red Bull eventually ran away with both championships, leaving Leclerc and Ferrari in a scrap to defend third place in both categories.
With the championship looking Leclerc’s to lose in the opening weeks of the season, former F1 driver Romain Grosjean has suggested that the Monegasque driver will be hurt by how the year panned out.
“After the first three races you’d be crazy not to think that Ferrari is going to be world champion with Charles Leclerc, and here we go, they almost didn’t finish second,” said the former Haas driver.
“So I guess that’s where the disappointment comes from for Charles. If George [Russel] finished second in the championship, it would have meant something but when you actually lead the championship by, what was it? 45 or 65 points over Max and you finish behind, it hurts.”
The most painful thing for Leclerc will be knowing that a lot of his shortcomings last season came as a result of errors from his team, for example pitting him for the fastest lap in Spa which saw him lose a position to Fernando Alonso.
The good news for the 25-year-old is that things promise to improve at Ferrari next season, as the Scuderia have replaced team principal Mattia Binotto with the highly rated Fred Vasseur from Alfa Romeo.
Vasseur worked with Leclerc during the Monegasque’s time at Sauber, and with the Frenchman typically preferring to operate with a clear number one driver, Leclerc has every reason to be excited about the upcoming 2023 season.