F1 business expert Mark Gallagher believes the career path of Charles Leclerc is following one typical of a Ferrari driver as rumours continue to swirl over his future.
After getting a brief taste of what a title battle could feel like early in the 2022 campaign, Leclerc and Ferrari went into F1 2023 looking this time to sustain a push for World title glory right through to the business end of the season.
Such ambitions have not been realised though, with Red Bull having won all 12 grands prix so far, while Ferrari find themselves P4 in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
Charles Leclerc Ferrari career going “slightly sour”
Having graduated through the Ferrari Driver Academy ranks to make his F1 debut in 2018, joining the Ferrari line-up for the following season, Leclerc’s love for the team runs deep, but it could potentially not be enough to keep him there long-term.
Leclerc’s current Ferrari contract is set to expire at the end of F1 2024, and while Leclerc wants to stay, he admits he does not know how Ferrari envision him in their future with contract talks delayed until the end of the current campaign.
Aston Martin and Mercedes are among the teams Leclerc has been linked with and Gallagher, when appearing on the GP Racing magazine podcast, claiming it is “extraordinary” how it has come to this for a driver who not long ago was the Ferrari “golden boy”.
“It’s extraordinary really, watching the sport and seeing how careers develop, and the ebb and flow of careers, Charles has gone from the golden boy at Ferrari, that kind of rocket ship trajectory of his career, and here we are in the middle of 2023, his fifth season, and we’re wondering what he should do next,” said Gallagher.
“If I may say, it looks a little bit like a traditional Ferrari driver story, where you come in with great hope and then it just starts to slightly sour.
“Charles has made some driving errors over the years plus the team, apart from the fact that the team strategically, operationally, and personnel wise leaves a bit to be desired. So basically, every aspect of the team leaves a bit to be desired. You then have Charles with those few driving errors.”
Ferrari could still repeat their P2 finish in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship this time around, the gap to Mercedes 56 points, though Leclerc’s chances of back-to-back P2 finishes in the Drivers’ standings look bleak, with 90 points to make up on Red Bull’s Sergio Perez across the remaining 10 rounds of F1 2023.