Six-time F1 grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher doubts Ferrari will challenge for title glory in F1 2024, claiming Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are the key reason due to their unpredictable nature.
2023 proved to be a highly disappointing season for Ferrari, who went into the campaign looking to transform a strong start to the prior season into a sustained championship push, but never found themselves in the running.
Sainz did claim the honour of being the only non-Red Bull grand prix winner of 2023 as he took the chequered flag in Singapore, but with Red Bull winning the other 21 and Ferrari also losing out to Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, the Scuderia are targeting an improved F1 2024.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz barrier to Ferrari F1 2024 title?
The goal each season at Ferrari is to restore title-winning ways, having gone without since their 2008 Constructors’ crown, and Sainz especially has been vocal ahead of the season to confirm the World Championship is his target, one he wants his Ferrari team to share.
However, Schumacher does not believe Leclerc or Sainz are consistent enough to challenge for the title, believing they are too prone to making “silly mistakes.”
Speaking on the Formula For Success podcast, Schumacher had named Mercedes and McLaren’s Lando Norris as potential title rivals to Red Bull’s reigning three-time World Champion Max Verstappen, at which point co-star and Schumacher’s former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan pointed out he had not mentioned Ferrari.
“For me, yes,” Schumacher said to confirm that omission was deliberate.
“It could be possible, but both drivers, you never know what they’ll do: they’re leading a race, they spin off or they’re crashing – not really into each other but making silly mistakes, which very often surprises me.
“I think Fred [Vasseur, Ferrari team principal] is doing a good job so far, you can see now the group is growing together a bit better and less mistakes, very good pit stops. But at the moment, I would not see them as the biggest contender, but maybe I’m wrong.
“As it is, you will see at the first test or the first two races, then I think it’s easier to judge.”
Both Leclerc and Sainz are out of contract at Ferrari come the end of 2024, though it has been widely reported that the Scuderia wish to hand new deals to their drivers.