Charles Leclerc’s two Formula 1 wins came in 2019 – and five victories this year is the kind of “realistic” target he is aiming for.
The Ferrari driver has gone two full seasons without standing on the top step of the podium since he did so in Belgium and Italy back-to-back during September 2019.
But with the Scuderia having stated their aim is to return to winning ways in the campaign that starts with the Bahrain Grand Prix at the weekend, Leclerc is keen to savour the feeling he experienced at Spa and Monza again.
Ferrari featured at, or very near to, the top of the timesheets throughout pre-season testing, and there is the hope at Maranello that Leclerc and his team-mate Carlos Sainz can step up again on the team’s improved 2021 showing compared to a dismal 2020.
Leclerc was asked during an interview with Sky Italia about a suggestion that Ferrari are targeting five race victories this year.
“They asked me a number of wins I would like. Immediately I said 23, then more realistically I said five,” explained the 24-year-old from Monaco.
“For now it’s too early to say that, but I want to be ahead and fight to win every race.
“This applies to me, but also to Ferrari and Carlos. It will be very important that the two of us will fight for those positions.
“We are working in the right way, I’ve been saying this for three years.
“From 2020, we started over with a more difficult project, we changed the ways of working. It paid off so far and now with this project it’s time to implement all this good work of the last few years and get back to fight for the victory.”
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has said he does not consider the team to be among the “favourites” and Leclerc is also not making any outlandish predictions about where they stand compared to Mercedes and Red Bull.
Asked for his description of how the F1-75 was performing, he said: “Maybe consistent, because so far we had a certain consistency during the tests. Every day we ran many laps, with few problems, and this is a good sign.
“It doesn’t mean anything with the performance, but in a season with a new project like this where the engineers need as much data as possible, having the chance to run these many laps is very important.
“So that is good. Then if it’s fast, I don’t know that yet.”
Leclerc wants 23 wins, would settle for five
Charles Leclerc wants 23 wins but would settle for a more realistic target of five.