It was quite the surprise last year in December 2019, when Ferrari announced they had agreed to an extension with Charles Leclerc on a new five-year deal. After all, the former Sauber driver had been at the team for just nearly 11 months.
The promise and talent that the Scuderia saw in Leclerc were enough to convince them. Now, he is repaying that faith by being the team’s star performer on the track.
Former Red Bull driver David Coulthard believes the team recognized the potential Charles Leclerc had. He also feels that the young Monegasque driver has the requisite leadership skills as part of his personality.
Coulthard is quoted as saying, “I think that’s the reason, with his temperament and the way he works within the team and keeps his feet on the ground, why Ferrari committed to him [Leclerc] so early in the year and on a multi-year contract.
“They’ve seen he is not only fast. But he has the leadership skills to build that team going forward.”
Perhaps that is the reason why the team’s priorities shifted from Sebastian Vettel towards Charles Leclerc. Ferrari hence also saw the opportunity to sign Carlos Sainz to replace the outgoing German.
When the 2021 season begins, the onus will be on Sainz to prove he is a competent teammate to Leclerc. With the level of performances he has displayed thus far, the latter will be top dog at Ferrari.
Ideally, Ferrari would like to build just about the perfect car for Leclerc to win a championship. The Italian giants have had a history of phenomenal drivers over the years, and they clearly want him to be one of them.
However, the relationship has to work two ways and all eyes will be on how Ferrari go about their plans next season. Considering the disaster of 2020, Ferrari also have to do their job. And supplement their drivers with optimal machinery.
Leclerc has been driving well despite the car not reacting well in terms of race pace. The hope would be that he fights more often for podium finishes and if the possibility arises, a race win too.