“Don’t sell him short,” Mario Andretti pushes Ferrari to hold on to Charles Leclerc, says he is a future champion

Mario Andretti believes Charles Leclerc's streak of crashes is a result of the Monegasque driver pushing the SF23 to its limit.


“Don’t sell him short,” Mario Andretti pushes Ferrari to hold on to Charles Leclerc, says he is a future champion

Mario Andretti (Image via Outcasting.com), Charles Leclerc( Image via PlanetF1)

Charles Leclerc has faced widespread criticism after the first five rounds of the 2023 F1 season. The Monegasque driver has had a string of incidents in the early part of the season that hampered his results. The 25-year-old has managed a single podium finish so far. Former F1 world champion Mario Andretti has defended Charles Leclerc.

The 83-year-old advised Maranello not to lose its star driver. He said, “Don’t sell him short.” Andretti insisted that Charles’ recent streak of crashes was not his fault. The Monegasque driver has been trying to push the SF23 to the limit to match the frontrunners. Mario reckoned that Leclerc has what it takes to be an F1 world champion in the future.

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The former F1 champion was convinced that Leclerc would be right at the front challenging the likes of Max Verstappen once Ferrari could provide him with a good car. Although, for now, the Monegasque driver is forced to try and extract the most out of a mediocre SF23. The Scuderia will bring the first set of major upgrades for the SF23 at the Spanish GP.

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Mario Andretti reckons Charles Leclerc ‘realizes his mistakes’

Charles Leclerc, Miami GP, image via Sky Sports
Charles Leclerc, Miami GP (Image via Sky Sports)

Andretti insisted that the 25-year-old is pushing himself to the limit to improve his prospects. The 83-year-old believed that Leclerc would have acknowledged his errors this season. He said, “He realizes some of the mistakes himself, I guarantee it.” Moreover, Mario Andretti stated that Leclerc might be punishing himself already.

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Despite the recent incidents, Charles Leclerc has demonstrated his talent in the first five rounds. The Monegasque driver took pole position at the Azerbaijan GP as he outpaced the Red Bulls. Ferrari has defended the 25-year-old’s season so far, as the team believes that Leclerc was forced to push due to the pace deficit up front.

Thus, Mario Andretti is convinced that Charles Leclerc will not make costly mistakes once the Monegasque driver is given competitive machinery. The 25-year-old has been forced to push to the limit to extract the most pace out of the car leading to numerous crashes. However, it remains to be seen if Leclerc can step up on his game once the upgrades arrive.

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