“A Very Good Pilot But Not More” – Ex-F1 Boss Makes a Dismissive Claim About Ferrari Star Charles Leclerc

Published 12/25/2021, 4:00 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 26, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. on the starting grid before the race Pool via REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov


From the very beginning of 2019, Ferrari has always looked up to Charles Leclerc as one of the rising stars of Formula 1 and a potential future world champion; The Monegasque thrashed 4-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, over two straight seasons which solidified his capabilities at Maranello.

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But then arrived Carlos Sainz, the Spaniard who may not have embraced many huge successes until then but possessed an insane level of consistency. The team anticipated a one-sided affair between the two teammates, with Leclerc leading the way. And that’s exactly how it began.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 26, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrates on the podium with the trophy after finishing third in the race Pool via REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov

Sainz had a rather slow start, but, as the season progressed, things took a wild turn – Sainz started to come alive and consequently made noticeable progress. And as the season reached its end, Sainz found himself 5.5 championship points ahead of Leclerc in the driver’s standings.

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What’s more, Sainz also secured the famous ‘best of the rest’ tag by defeating his own teammate and Lando Norris in the very final race in Abu Dhabi. Hence, is Leclerc still the number 1 driver of Ferrari? Ex-F1 CEO, Bernie Ecclestone, doesn’t believe so.

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Ecclestone reveals conversation with Ferrari Driver’s father

The former F1 CEO opened up that he had recently engaged in a phone conversation with Carlos Sainz’s father who lamented about the way Ferrari reacted when his son defeated Leclerc. Apparently, the entire Maranello outfit was shocked.

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But, Ecclestone opined that Leclerc isn’t worth the shock, as he felt the Monegasque is nothing more than a good driver. “Carlos Sainz’s father called me and told me about his son’s situation,” he told Blick.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 21, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. play basketball ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Mike Blake

Let’s say it like this. Many in Maranello are surprised that the Spaniard was able to heat up his teammate Charles Leclerc in 2021. For me, Leclerc was always a very good pilot, but not more,” the British business magnate concluded.

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Overall, there is no denying that Leclerc has been one of the best drivers on the grid, but is that statement still valid? Sainz’s arrival seems to have breached his dominance at Ferrari. Hence, will the Reds start to prioritize Sainz over Leclerc in the coming years? Well, we’ll know soon enough.

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Rohit Kumar

1672 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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