F1 News: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Under Immense “Pressure of Italy”, Claims Former Ferrari Champion

Published 01/25/2024, 1:20 PM EST

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via Reuters

For the drivers, the world of Formula 1 is all about absorbing high-pressure situations with so much on the line every single time they go out on the track. But when driving for Ferrari, the pressure is on a whole different level. Being one of the longest-standing teams in the sport, Ferrari’s popularity in F1 as a constructor is unmatched. With 16 titles to their name, Ferrari is expected to win the championship every single year regardless of the team’s previous performance. And no one feels that pressure more than the drivers. For the past 3 seasons, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have been the subject of Italy’s pride, driving for the Scuderia.

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With the iconic image of the prancing horse coupled with the weight of expectations of the Italian fans (Tifosi), Charles Leclerc and Sainz are well aware of the intense scrutiny that they are subjected to pretty much all the time. The Italian media also keeps a keen eye on how the team is performing at all times. And so, whoever drives for Ferrari is always under the spotlight and needs to have a thick skin to face criticism, especially at a time like this when the team is not doing so well.

Former Ferrari champion related to the pressure on Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz

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The pressure of driving for Ferrari reaches its peak when the Formula 1 circus eventually reaches the temple of Speed, Monza. The Italian Grand Prix is like a festival, with the Tifosi coming in to show their support for Ferrari in huge numbers. In 2023, Sainz managed to secure the pole position, raising the fans’ expectations to the maximum. However, it was Max Verstappen who ended up winning the race with Sainz barely managing to hang on to the final podium place.

The 1979 world champion for Ferrari, Jody Scheckter, the only South African driver to ever win the F1 title recently spoke with Eddie Jordan on the Formula For Success podcast. Jordan asked Jody, “Would you say that the pressure on them [Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz] is infinitely more than it is on any other driver pairing?”

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The difference for me was, when you drive for Ferrari, you’re driving for Italy, said Scheckter. “When you’re driving for McLaren or another team, you’re driving for the team. That’s the big difference. And so, you got the pressure of Italy on your shoulders. Because whatever you did, it was in all the papers.

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However, I guess, it also depends on the individual, whether you take the pressure negatively or positively. And the current Ferrari duo seems to relish the weight of expectations of the Italian fans.

Leclerc and Sainz are unfazed by the pressure of driving for Ferrari

The Ferrari drivers seem to have found a sense of responsibility under the huge expectations that lie on their shoulders. According to Carlos Sainz, who was responsible for Ferrari’s lone victory in 2023, the passionate Ferrari fanbase is more like a boost than a burden. It is a sentiment that is shared by both the drivers.

According to Leclerc, as quoted by GP Blog, “It was not something I was ever bothered by, and it never felt like pressure, but rather something positive, in the sense that we can count on a lot of support all over the world. When you see the huge passion in everyone who travels after us, sometimes coming from very far to watch a Formula One race, you are already forced to perform well.”

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During the Italian Grand Prix, Sainz said something similar after securing the pole position. “I wouldn’t call it pressure. I would call it a sense of responsibility and a sense of wanting to give this crowd and this country the best possible version of yourself, both off the track and on the track with your performance… In the end, it’s a lot more motivation than pressure.”

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Watch This Story | F1 veteran shocked as Charles Leclerc’s bratty behavior is overlooked by Ferrari in surprising decision

Will the 2024 Ferrari challenger allow Leclerc and Sainz to take the fight to Red Bull? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.

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Written by:

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking." Hi there, I am Veer and I come from a family that lives and breathes football, but somehow I never could fit into that mold.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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