Charles Leclerc has spoken to the media for the first time since the announcement that he will have Lewis Hamilton as a teammate in 2025. Although the British world champion was not mentioned in the conversation, the Monegasque does provide a glimpse of the state of affairs at Ferrari and explains his goals for the coming years.
‘Winning the championship is the only goal I have. I am only happy if I win, second place is not my goal,” Leclerc is clear, in conversation with The Daily Mail. ‘You also have to set realistic goals for yourself, even though we are always optimistic and try to do the best we can. We all want to win, but if you look at how we started last year, Red Bull had a big advantage. So now we have to close the gap as much as possible.’ Red Bull managed to win 21 of the 22 races in 2023, while Ferrari was the only other team to win during the Singapore Grand Prix.
Leclerc: ‘I see Carlos more than my own family’
The arrival of Hamilton to the team in Maranello also means that Carlos Sainz will enter his last year as a Ferrari driver this year. Leclerc says he has a good relationship with the Spaniard. ‘We have a very special relationship. I mean, of course we’re friends off the track too. We share good moments. We spend so much time. I see Carlos more than my own family because we have now completed 24 races.’
Leclerc looks forward to Ferrari unveiling
On February 13, Ferrari will officially unveil the new car for the 2024 season, and Leclerc says he is looking forward to it. ‘I saw the car yesterday, not yet fully painted, but the first model. So you start to get excited about that and then we get to drive the car for the first time around the launch, which is next week, which I’m really looking forward to again.’
Monegasque is keeping a close eye on things
Although Leclerc is keen to get started with the new Ferrari car, there are still some uncertainties about how good the car will be on real circuits. “There are many question marks,” said the Monegasque. ‘Of course we drove the car, but it remains to be seen in reality whether everything matches what we felt in the virtual world and the simulator. That’s normally the case if everything goes well.’
Nevertheless, Leclerc is confident that the data from the simulator will correspond to the real thing. ‘With the technology we have now, it’s absolutely crazy how close it gets (the simulator, ed.), but there can be some miscalculations. We always try to push the boundaries and get as close to reality as possible. They (the Ferrari team, ed.) did a good job, so I’m sure it will be very similar to what I tried on the simulator.’