Leclerc: Criticism of F3 driving standards "exaggerated"

European Formula 3's top rookie Charles Leclerc believes the championship's driving standards issues were overstated in 2015, suggesting that the racing got better as it went on.

Many of the series' drivers came under fire for their driving throughout this season, with several race bans handed out in the aftermath of heavy shunts and a number of races taking place almost entirely behind the safety car.

The situation reached a low point in round four at Monza, when the final race of the weekend was red-flagged early specifically due to poor driving standards.

However, Leclerc, who himself largely stayed out of trouble over his rookie season, said the racing was not as bad as some of the criticism suggested.

"I think it was exaggerated a little," he told "There were some drivers who were a bit stupid on track, I think, but they calmed down afterwards. And people started saying they were slow drivers, which wasn’t true.

"I think it’s a very competitive field, especially this year, one of the most competitive fields since F3 has existed.

"Then, for sure, there are many inexperienced drivers, I think that’s why there were many crashes at the start of the season, but as we saw, at the end of the season, it was much better."

The Monegasque himself failed to finish only two of the season's 33 races on his way to fourth in the standings.

Drivers' inexperience an issue

Following in the footsteps of Max Verstappen, two drivers - Callum Ilott and Alessio Lorandi - entered F3 straight out of karting this year.

And while the duo were perhaps not the worst culprits in terms of causing incidents, Leclerc suggested that racers being able to enter F3 without prior open-wheel experience is an issue.

"Maybe [they should] make it mandatory, before graduating to F3, to spend a season in a lower category like F4 or Formula Renault 2.0," he said. "Not to go straight from karting to F3."

Leclerc's campaign in F3 was his second year in single-seaters, as he contested Formula Renault 2.0 Alps in 2014, finishing runner-up to McLaren junior Nyck de Vries.

Interview by Benjamin Vinel

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About this article
Series F3 Europe
Drivers Charles Leclerc
Teams Van Amersfoort Racing
Article type Breaking news