Charles Leclerc turns on the ignition before the 80th Monaco Grand Prix
Never a prophet in his own country, and having got off to a bad start this season at the wheel of a Ferrari that is far from being up to scratch, Charles Leclerc is hoping to see the skies lighten up next weekend in the Principality.
And what if this was the right year? After so many missed opportunities and accumulated frustrations since 2017, in F2 and then in F1, what if the little prince of Monaco finally became sovereign in his own backyard?
Under the standard of the Prancing Horse, Charles Leclerc, at 25 years of age, already has two pole positions at home (2021, 2022). All this for a meagre haul: 12 small points (4th in 2022). Will the wheel of fortune turn at a time when Ferrari is suffering more than ever from the comparison with the ogre Red Bull? The vice-world champion, who held his traditional video conference in French on Tuesday afternoon, knows that nothing is ever written in advance here. So he is not closing any doors.
Charles, before negotiating the home corner, you are seventh in the hierarchy, 85 points behind Max Verstappen. What is the reason for this difficult start to the season?
Unfortunately, the problems piled up in the first three races. A mechanical failure at the start in Bahrain, a penalty that pushed us back ten places on the grid in Jeddah (12th instead of 2nd, for a third replacement of the electronic box, editor's note), and this collision with Lance (Stroll) shortly after the start in Melbourne. That's a lot! A lot of lost points. At times like this you have to keep your head up. You have to keep working hard, because there is still a long way to go.
A year ago, in the spring, the Ferrari was on a par with the Red Bull. Why has the gap widened so much? Is it a design or development problem?
I think the targets set for the engineers last year were simply not right. During 2022, Red Bull made a huge leap forward. They have progressed much more than us, especially in race pace. In my opinion, it is more a problem of philosophy than of development.