Charles Leclerc could be facing his most difficult season in Formula 1 yet as he prepares for a second year with Ferrari and all the “pitfalls” that come with that.
Last season Leclerc stepped up the Scuderia and shone brightly.
The Monégasque driver not only took the fight to Sebastian Vettel, often beating his four-time World Championship team-mate, but also claimed two grands prix wins and bagged the most pole positions of anyone.
But in the midst of it all he also made huge mistakes, most notably crashing in qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP when he was the favourite to take pole position.
Leclerc was given leeway not only by Ferrari but also the Italian media, who at times were extremely critical of his team-mate Vettel.
This year Leclerc needs to bring his A-game every weekend as the pressure will increase.
In an interview with the official F1 website, team boss Mattia Binotto said: “Charles knows that the second year in a top team has more pitfalls, but he is a boy who learns so quickly that I am sure he will be able to manage the pressure in the best way.”
The team boss, though, reckons out of the two drivers the new SF1000 is perhaps better suited to Vettel.
Although the German finished behind his team-mate on the Barcelona timesheets, Binotto says the car seems to favour Vettel’s style.
He, however, believes Leclerc will be able to adapt.
“I think so [it should be more suited to Vettel], at least from the first indications of Barcelona,” he explained.
“Having said that, one of the best skills of the great drivers is to be able to adapt to the car you have available and to get the most out of it.
“For our part, we must try to help them achieve this, which we do with both drivers.”