Charles Leclerc said he felt “good” after Ferrari impressed during the first pre-season test in Barcelona but warned they were not focusing on performance at this stage.
After a couple of years well below their usual standard, Ferrari has reason to be optimistic heading into the 2022 season.
They completed the most laps (439) during the three-day test and Leclerc himself set the fastest time on day two.
But the Monegasque admitted he and the team were trying not to get too carried away at this stage.
“I mean, we’ve done all the tests that we’ve wanted to do, which was the most important thing we wanted to do during this test – doing as much mileage as we could – and we did, without major problems.
“So it’s a positive first test for this, and in terms of performance, nothing to say for now.”
“On the other hand, I think we are working harder than ever to just try and keep our heads down. It’s of course always nice to see yourselves P1, but it doesn’t mean anything… I think everyone is aware of this in the team.
“So, yes, we are not really focusing on the performance at all; we are just focusing on ourselves. Now we are already focused on Bahrain.”
First taste of my 2022 beast. 😍 pic.twitter.com/UCa0i6oc9A
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) February 18, 2022
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto also played down expectations and insisted his team were “outsiders not favourites.”
“I think it’s very early days,” he said during a press conference in Barcelona.
“It’s always great to have good consistency when running because it’s time to learn these new cars.
“When you’re doing a lot of laps, you are certainly collecting data. So far I’m pleased by the fact that we did many laps which is important. Regarding the pace, it’s very early to judge. What I can see is that we are all very close, which was one of the objectives of the new regulations.
“Overall, as Ferrari it was important for us to put focus and priority on 2022.
“We always said it was an opportunity. Now we are on track, we are trying to learn the car.
“How we benefit from that, I think only the next months – not the next days – will tell us. To see the full potential of the cars will take at least four to five races as there is still so much to learn, to adapt, to address. Let’s wait and see. Honestly, we’re not the strongest team. We are still the outsider and not the favourites.”
Ferrari still has the most Drivers’ champions in history but has not won a Drivers’ Championship since 2007.
The last time the team won the Constructors’ Championship was in 2008.
Leclerc will hope the 2022 regulations will provide him with a chance to improve on his career-best fourth place finish in the drivers standings, while the highest spot his team-mate Carlos Sainz has reached is a fifth-place finish achieved last season.
Ferrari still ‘far from best performance’
Mattia Binotto states that Ferrari still have more to give after a productive Barcelona testing.