Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc hopes to be competitive enough in his first season with the team to give them a welcome problem.
He partners four-time World Champions Sebastian Vettel, and team principal Mattia Binotto has already told the world that: “if there are particular situations our priority will be Sebastian.”
The 21-year-old therefore has work to do if he is to move up the Scuderia pecking order, and after stepping up from Sauber following an impressive rookie year, the Monegasque driver is realistic about where he currently is in his career.
“Obviously I will be happy if I get used to this car as soon as possible and that I’m straight on the pace,” Leclerc told Sky Sports, after he enjoyed a productive opening week of testing at Barcelona in the promising new Ferrari.
“But I’m realistic too, it’s only my second season in Formula 1 and I have a lot to learn.
“There’s a long road ahead, but I’m pushing to be as ready as possible for the first race and if Mattia has the problem to manage two quick drivers then it’s a good sign for me.
“But I want to focus on myself, trying to improve every time I’m going in the car. It’s a top team and they are quite different to the team I was in before so it’s a bit of an adaption.”
Although a rival of the youngster, Leclerc is determined to learn from his experienced team-mate as well as compete with him.
“Seb is a very nice guy and it’s not difficult to get on with him, so that’s good,” Leclerc explained.
“We are working on different things with the car and it’s good to have Seb next to me during these days [at testing].
“It’s good to see what are his strong points and what I can learn from him.”