Charles Leclerc ‘clearly’ setting sights on World Championship glory in 2023 season

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari SF-23. Fiorano February 2023.

Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari SF-23. Fiorano February 2023.

Charles Leclerc has made it clear that his intention is to fight for his maiden World Championship this season, after a year which saw Ferrari ultimately fall short last time around.

Leclerc raced into a 46-point lead over eventual champion Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ standings after winning two of the first three races last year in a Ferrari F1-75 that proved to be more than a worthy match for the Red Bull RB18, but a combination of strategic, reliability and driver errors aligned to allow their rivals back into the fight and, ultimately, win both titles at a canter.

But with Ferrari looking to make up for the disappointment of ultimately falling short, the Monégasque driver sees it as a logical step to want to go one better this time around, with the team having launched the SF-23 in style at Fiorano on Tuesday.

Leclerc drove two laps of the team’s brand new car around their private test track after the covers were pulled off in front of a full grandstand of 500 fans, with many others around the perimeter fencing at the circuit, and he revealed his excitemend about the season ahead – and the clear target in front of him.

“I can’t wait,” he said at the team’s car launch. “I mean, 2022 was a good step forward compared to the two difficult years that were 2020 and 2021, but we finished second in the Constructors’ Championship and also finished second in the Drivers’ Championship.

“So I’m really looking forward to this new car. I think we’ve done a great job working on it and in trying to address the weaknesses that there was on this car, which hopefully it will be better.

“But the goal is to win, clearly. I mean, the feeling of winning is what motivates me, it motivates all the team too, so I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car and hopefully try and win that championship.” recommends

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But Leclerc will be facing competition from other teams and from the other side of the garage as he goes in search of a first championship in Ferrari colours, with Carlos Sainz having beaten him on points in their first season together as team-mates in 2021.

The Spaniard took his first pole positions and a race win at Silverstone last year, and he is expecting another nip-and-tuck battle from within the Scuderia first and foremost this season.

“It’s normally pretty tight, but I will always try and be faster, he will always try and be faster,” Sainz said.

“Even whatever we do, we get a car, [a] Ferrari road car and we do a lap at Fiorano and we are always trying to time ourselves.

“It’s a good thing, being competitive but also being respectful and having a good relationship that we can push each other like we have done.”