Said to be frustrated with Ferrari’s lack of progress, Le Mans winner Richard Bradley believes there are “a lot” of teams that would be interested in Charles Leclerc, including Mercedes.
Dreaming of a title fight after last year’s distant P2 in the standings, Leclerc was disappointed in pre-season testing when it became apparent to Ferrari they’d missed the mark with the SF-23.
But while rival teams such as Mercedes and McLaren have managed to take strides forward with their in-season upgrades, Ferrari haven’t been able to follow suit.
Could Mercedes or Aston Martin be an option for Charles Leclerc?
With a measly three podiums in 13 races, and yet to challenge Red Bull for a grand prix win, there is speculation that Leclerc is beginning to become frustrated with Ferrari’s lack of progress.
He’s denied this, adamant he wants to win with Ferrari, but Bradley believes there are other options that could soon be available at either Mercedes, should Lewis Hamilton retire, or Aston Martin if the Silverstone team drops Lance Stroll.
“At the end of the day he’s not really a rookie anymore, he’s quite an experienced Formula One driver and his street credibility in the paddock is very, very high,” Le Mans winner Bradley told the On Track GP podcast.
“There’s a lot of people who would seriously consider Leclerc.
“What if Hamilton retires? Mercedes for sure would have the conversation with him. And then Aston Martin with the Stroll situation. All of a sudden you look at the line-up of Alonso and Leclerc, and that’s extremely exciting.
“So I don’t really blame him.”
A warning to Leclerc’s potential employers?
Leclerc’s frustrations with Ferrari may be matched by the Scuderia’s with Leclerc crashing several times this season.
He added to his tally at the Dutch Grand Prix when he crashed in qualifying while contact with Oscar Piastri on the opening lap of the race put paid to his efforts to score points.
Bradley reckons the Monégasque driver is trying too hard and should take note of Carlos Sainz’s “very calm, collected” attitude that put him P5 at Zandvoort.
“But also I was watching qualifying with some some other people involved in motorsport at the weekend, and he has a lot of shunts. He has a lot of shunts, and he makes a lot of mistakes, it’s not all down to Ferrari,” he said.
“I mean he does a lot of stuff that is on him.”
Put to him that Leclerc is trying to drive his Ferrari as if it were a Red Bull and pushing too hard, Bradley said: “He’s started to overdrive basically.
“If you look at what Sainz did, a very, very mature. Very calm, collected, all the right decisions, and he definitely finished higher than that car deserved to finish.”
Sainz has leapfrogged Leclerc in the Drivers’ standings for fifth with his 102 points while Leclerc is down to sixth on 99.