Pundit’s Charles Leclerc mistake theory: ‘Doesn’t care much’ beyond ambitious ‘yardstick’

Henry Valantine
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc waves to the crowd after qualifying third for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc waves to the crowd after qualifying third for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Former Williams team manager Peter Windsor believes Charles Leclerc is prone to more errors in Formula 1 because of the high targets he sets himself.

The Ferrari driver came in for criticism after a mistake-strewn weekend at the Dutch Grand Prix recently, before being out-performed for much of the Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza by team-mate Carlos Sainz.

Both Ferrari drivers duelled to the finish at the team’s home race last time out, with Sainz just about coming out on top, but Leclerc currently narrowly trails his team-mate in the Drivers’ standings at this point in the season.

Charles Leclerc mistakes come from being ‘desperate to get where he wants to be’

Having had five race wins and 20 pole positions in his career to date, alongside being a racing contemporary of Max Verstappen throughout the junior categories, Leclerc has been touted as potential World Champion material in years gone by – signing Ferrari’s longest ever contract extension back in 2019 after impressing alongside Sebastian Vettel in only his second season in Formula 1.

While he has continued to show flashes of brilliance, there have been errors from the Monégasque driver that have seen him crash out of qualifying sessions and races which have drawn a growing critique of late.

Though his natural talent is clear, Windsor’s theory on why he may be more mistake prone than others around him stems from the 25-year-old setting his bar for success at the level of Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton – right at the top of the sport.

And when he is not fighting at the front, the former team manager explained that his sole focus is getting back there – no matter what – which can end up being to his detriment.

“I am a Leclerc fan, you’ve got to understand I’m a Leclerc fan,” Windsor said on a recent YouTube live stream.

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“Because Leclerc’s yardstick is racing with Max and to some extent, you know, Lewis at the front of a Grand Prix, when he’s not in that situation, he doesn’t really care that much about anything other than just trying to get back into the situation.

“That’s possibly why we see him making more mistakes and doing funny things, because he’s just desperate to get to where he wants to be.

“But in a car like a Ferrari, which is eating its tyres, relatively low downforce, they don’t seem to be able to generate very good downforce on high downforce circuits, and therefore that leads on to everything else, the bouncing, the kerb strike, the car changing over the fuel load, all those things.

“It’s a really difficult ask for a guy like Leclerc to be patient and bring the car home.”

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