Leclerc Adjusts Strategy After Bahrain F1 Setback

Charles Leclerc, who was in contention for a podium finish at Bahrain last season before failing to finish the race, has stated he plans to reserve judgment on Ferrari’s prospects for a few races into the current season.

This cautious approach stems from his experience last year, where despite a promising start, he only managed to secure his first of six podium finishes in the fourth round of the season.

Last year, following a strong pre-season showing, Ferrari emerged as a formidable competitor to Red Bull, with Leclerc and his teammate Carlos Sainz showing impressive speed in qualifying at Sakhir, finishing third and fourth fastest, respectively.

However, Leclerc emphasizes the importance of patience, suggesting, “We will always have to wait two or three races to see our car in different conditions.”

Unfortunately, Ferrari’s challenge fell short in Bahrain, with Leclerc retiring due to an engine failure and Sainz being surpassed by Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin.

This event marked one of Ferrari’s stronger early-season showings, even as they struggled to consistently match the pace of the front-runners, often finding themselves as the fourth-fastest team.

Given these experiences, Leclerc is adopting a wait-and-see approach this season, understanding that it will take several races before a clear hierarchy among the teams can be established.

The five-time Grand Prix winner stated, “Looking back at the previous years, you always need to wait two or three races to feel how strong of a package you have on different tracks.

“Sometimes you can have a very strong package on one track and you get to another track and you are struggling much more.

“We will always have to wait for two or three races to see our car in different conditions, different wind, different temperature, different track layout, before actually drawing conclusions of what can be achieved that season.

“But of course, we will have a good picture of where we are at after the first race.”

Nonetheless, he remains optimistic that this year’s SF-24 will be a car that can challenge Red Bull for the World Championships.

When questioned about whether achieving podium finishes alone was satisfactory, he responded: “No, it’s not enough.

“I mean, I want to win as many races as possible, then we’ll do the counter at the end of the year, and to also understand where we will be after the first race to understand how competitive we are.

“But yeah, it’s very difficult now to also draw a picture of where we will stand after the first race, it will depend on that as well.

“But two or three victories is not my target, I want to win as many races as possible.”

The upcoming season marks the last of three years in which Leclerc will team up with Carlos Sainz, following Ferrari’s announcement that Lewis Hamilton will join as his teammate for 2025.