Charles Leclerc‘s using the end of the 2022 Formula 1 season to learn and improve for next year, despite the battle for second place remaining close, the Ferrari driver has already identified areas in which the Scuderia could do better.
Leclerc conceded the 2022 Drivers’ Championship to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix and now sits in third place behind Sergio Perez, despite a positive start to the season.
“Yes it’s always nicer to finish second than third but my main focus is not really on that,” Leclerc told the media ahead of the 2022 US Grand Prix in Austin.
“It’s mostly on trying to use these last four races to be challenging for the world championship next year, so we’ll try to use these races in order to be a better team for next year.”
After a positive preseason testing programme, Leclerc enjoyed a stunning start to the season and many Tiffosi thought 2022 would be the year a championship trophy returned to Maranello.
After taking victory in Australian Grand Prix following a second retirement in three races for Verstappen, Leclerc was leading the championship by 46 points.
However, he’s only won one of the 15 races since then and despite seven pole positions, has yet to win following a successful qualifying.
“Honestly mostly it’s Sunday execution as a whole,” Leclerc said his focus would lie for the remaineder of the season.
“This is loads of things, it’s time management, as we’ve seen over the last few races it’s still a weak point.
“Communication, strategy, reliability, just to be a stronger team on the Sunday and to actually finalise the weekend in the best way possible because the Saturday we’ve often been very strong but the Sunday sometimes things fell apart.”
Though Verstappen has been nearly unstoppable since the summer break, Ferrari and Leclerc blew plenty of opportunities in the first half of the F1 season.
Strategy blunders at Monaco, Silverstone and the Hungaroring have supplemented two engine failures whilst in the lead of the race.
Leclerc himself has been to blame for lost points too. He inexplicably crashed out of the lead of the French Grand Prix, which cost him a momentum-changing potential back-to-back wins, and span at Imola meaning he missed out on a podium.
“When I look back at the season,” Leclerc added, “obviously we’re coming from 2020 and 2021, which were very difficult for the whole team, and this year we did a huge step forward in terms of performance.
“There were loads of missed opportunities and parts of the season where there were too many mistakes. So it’s been a frustrating season overall but on the other hand I’m pretty sure it’ll help us get better in the future.”