Charles Leclerc says that although Ferrari are looking strong, the team’s main focus remains on 2022.
After a disastrous 2020, the Italian team were widely expected to focus their efforts this season on preparing for the regulation changes in 2022.
However, they have made huge steps forward over the winter and look set to fight McLaren for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship this year.
Despite that though, Leclerc says they are not changing their approach as there is more to gain by working on the 2022 car as a priority.
“I think a realistic goal for this year would be to be behind Red Bull and Mercedes,” he said as per GPFans.
“I think it will be very difficult to fight with them, we are too far behind for now. But we are in the fight with four or five other teams for third place in the Constructors’, so it’s going to be a tight fight but if we do everything perfect I think it’s reachable.
“I don’t think we are getting carried away by the fight there will be during the season. I think everyone is well aware there is much more to gain to focus on 2022 in the right way.
“These new cars will last for a lot longer, for many years after 2022, so we need to be ready for that. I think we are getting ready, as we should, for this transition so I’m not worried about that.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) April 18, 2021
The team’s vast improvement this year is particularly surprising given the regulations were largely frozen, limiting how much they could change on their 2020 car.
The main difference is widely believed to be the stronger power unit, which was the worst on the grid last year, but Leclerc says the machinery is better in a number of areas.
“This [current] car is a step forward, a significant step forward,” he added.
“We saw in Bahrain, we’ve had a better progression compared to the other teams from last year to this year, so this is positive.
“The power feels better, the balance in the corners, the actual grip of the car feels better. It’s overall, it’s not on one thing in particular, it’s just the whole package feels better and for sure this is positive for the future.
“On the other hand, we are still not fighting where we want to be fighting. So we are putting all of our efforts to try to come back to where we want to be, which is fighting for wins.”