“Two or three victories is not my target” in 2024 F1 season, says Charles Leclerc

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It’s been an extraordinary winter break for Scuderia Ferrari.

In January, the Italian giants tied Charles Leclerc down as the Monegasque driver agreed a new long-term deal with the team.

But the bombshell news dropped earlier this month. The Scuderia confirmed that seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton would be partnering Leclerc in 2025 to potentially give the sport one of the greatest intra-team battles in its history.

Ferrari has not won a Drivers’ Championship since 2007. Kimi Räikkönen took the title by a single point from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in the McLarens.
Leclerc has been with Ferrari since 2019 as a driver, having been part of the FDA. He won the GP3 and F2 titles in successive years, before joining Sauber in his rookie season six years ago.

The 26-year-old has long spoken about how his dream is to win a title in red. His new contract reaffirms that commitment.

“I mean, obviously the contract is for many years, so I cannot go into details for that. But obviously the goal of this new contract is to have a title together.

“But again, it all depends on the situation I find myself in after this contract. I love Ferrari very much and my goal of my career is to win a title with Ferrari and I’ll do absolutely everything in order to win the title with Ferrari.

“And then for the future, I’ve just signed my new contract so I don’t want to be speaking about that now.”

Ferrari’s start to 2023 looked somewhat promising as Leclerc was best of the rest behind the Red Bulls in Bahrain on both Saturday and Sunday. Unreliability cost him a certain P3 and podium position.

By the time the circus reached Saudi Arabia and Australia, however, Ferrari dropped behind Aston Martin and Mercedes as their race pace struggles started to show.

The Monegasque believes that the true pecking order and pace of the cars can only be properly judged after two or three races.

“Looking back at the previous years, you always need to wait two or three races to feel how strong of a package you have on different tracks.

“Sometimes you can have a very strong package on one track and you get to another track and you are struggling much more.

“We will always have to wait two or three races to see our car in different conditions, different wind, different temperature, different track layout, before actually drawing conclusions of what can be achieved that season.

“But of course we will have a good picture of where we are at after the first race.”

Leclerc’s 2023 season was a summary of his career at Ferrari so far. In spite of bagging five poles last year, he failed to convert any of them into a win.

However, to place the blame at his door for that would be unfair. Ferrari’s Achilles heel was very much race pace and tyre management throughout the course of 2023. It was in contrast to the mighty RB19.

When asked if two or three wins would satisfy him this year as Red Bull and Max Verstappen is expected to dominate again, the five-time Grand Prix winner repeatedly said no.

“No, no, no, it’s not enough. I mean, I want to win as many races as possible, then we’ll do the counter at the end of the year, and to also understand where we will be at after the first race to understand how competitive we are.

“But yeah, it’s very difficult now to also draw a picture of where we will stand after the first race, it will depend on that as well. But two or three victories is not my target, I want to win as many races as possible.”