Ferrari ambassador Marc Gene is confident podium finishes are not far away for the Scuderia following their improved start to the season.
Charles Leclerc in particular is putting Ferrari at the forefront of the battle for third position in the Constructors’ World Championship along with McLaren.
The Monegasque driver has finished fourth and sixth twice apiece in the first four races of 2021, while his new team-mate Carlos Sainz has contributed 20 points to a team haul of 60 which puts them only five behind third-placed McLaren – well clear of the rest.
Sooner or later, says former Ferrari test driver Gene, Ferrari will be back on the podium with more frequency than last year’s trio of top-three finishes for Leclerc and his former team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
However, the 47-year-old Spaniard is convinced a home victory for Leclerc at the next race in Monaco would be asking for too much too soon.
“No, Ferrari can’t win there,” Gene told Sky Italy. “I have no doubt Ferrari will reach more podiums this year than last year. But a victory in Monaco, I think it’s dreaming too much.”
Sainz had looked to have made the best start of any driver with a new team this year going into his home event, the Spanish Grand Prix, but did not have his strongest weekend by crossing the line seventh, one place lower than his grid slot.
The 26-year-old had a difficult start which left him trying to recover lost ground, but Gene is not concerned about his prospects going forward.
“I judge him for what he did in qualifying in Bahrain, and at Imola during the race,” added Gene, who drove two full F1 seasons for Minardi in 1999-2000 and three grands prix for Williams in 2003-04 with a best result of P5 at Monza.
“At Barcelona he was there, then in Q3 Leclerc did something great. But Carlos is there – for me, he’s the best of the drivers that switched teams this year. His time will come.”
Regarding the Spanish GP getaway, Gene added: “If you look at Carlos and Charles’ start, they were not that different. But then Carlos got stuck with two cars at his side.
“Starting from the dirty side of the track was difficult for both of them. Carlos always does a good start, you can’t do that always, unfortunately here it went bad.
“But there are many positive aspects from this GP. I would say it was the best GP of this year for Ferrari, no doubt about that.”