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Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
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Special feature

The big questions concerning Leclerc’s Ferrari F1 future

If Charles Leclerc’s sheer bravura calls to mind the legendary Gilles Villeneuve, a more troubling comparison looms: the absence of a world title to add to Ferrari’s trophy cabinet. ALEX KALINAUCKAS points out that while team and car have well-publicised shortcomings, Charles might just – whisper it – be unwittingly part of the problem…

As Formula 1’s summer shutdown enforces a three-week break from Max Verstappen
and Red Bull’s domination of the current campaign, rivals will have much to ponder. One such is Charles Leclerc, for whom the prospect of winning the world championship has grown even more distant after another error-strewn season. The choices he makes in the coming months are likely
to define his career, especially the question of his ongoing relationship with Ferrari.

While clear fractures have developed between Leclerc and the team, there’s no doubting the power of the almost mystical connections tying him to Ferrari. Think back to last October’s Singapore Grand Prix, a rare slip-up for Max when Red Bull cost him a front-row start by under-fuelling him in qualifying and Verstappen then botched the recovery. While Sergio Perez maintained Red Bull’s honour by winning, it was Leclerc who stole the show. Having blown his ninth (and final) pole position of 2022 with a poor start to the rain-delayed race, Charles spent two hours trying to make amends – throwing his Ferrari around the tricky street course with wild abandon, the frustration of gifting Perez the lead evident in every snappy steer.

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