Ex-F1 driver and Ferrari ambassador Marc Gene explained that Charles Leclerc has removed a lot of the emotion from his driving.
Ferrari went into the 2022 campaign with title ambitions, believing that the new regulations for 2022 would be the opportunity which they needed to return to the battle at the front.
And two races in, the signs are looking good with Leclerc having won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, while he was narrowly beaten to the chequered flag by Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia.
But Gene has noticed that this season, Leclerc has undergone a shift in his “mindset and mentality”.
Now, he is a far less emotional driver.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Gene said: “Charles, he used to be very emotional and this year he has changed a lot. Charles is like a 2.0 version of himself.
“When I went to Barcelona for the private testing, we spent a lot of time together and he was completely changed in his mindset and his mentality, and you can see it.
“[In Bahrain] I was expecting Charles to be more over the moon after qualifying, after the pole, and the race, but he seemed so much more mature and aware that this is a very long championship.”
Gene sees a similar trait in Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz and Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, explaining that all three are able to operate with calmness.
He feels that it is important that the trio do this and allow Ferrari’s tifosi to provide the emotion.
“I think Mattia, Charles and Carlos are going to be very important in keeping these emotions that we Italians, we tend to have,” said Gene.
“So, I leave that to the tifosi. But the three main characters of this team, which are the two drivers and the team principal, they are not emotional; Mattia is half Swiss [and the calmness] you can see with Carlos, it comes from his father.”
So, are Ferrari ready to return to the summit of Formula 1? Gene believes so, explaining that the team learned a lot from their recent years of struggle.
“I always say you learn more from the bad years than from the good years,” Gene stated.
“And now that we have a good car, we are ready for a new era I think, because it is the same people that suffered so much.”
If Ferrari were to win the 2022 Constructors’ Championship, then it would mean that Mercedes’ record-breaking series of consecutive titles would end at eight.
But even if this does come to pass, Gene does not see that record from Mercedes ever being beaten.
“I think cycles cannot be beyond the one that Mercedes has had any longer; that is the longest probably that we will see in F1 history,” he said.
“But definitely [Ferrari’s] group of people are ready to open a new era.”
Gené: 'Leclerc 2.0 is less emotional'
Marc Gené says a new and improved Charles Leclerc is on the grid this year.