Charles Leclerc has dismissed reports of Team Principal Mattia Binotto’s impending departure from Ferrari as mere rumours, as he backed his boss and the squad to deliver.
After the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, reports emerged that Ferrari’s Team Principal Binotto was under pressure to keep his job, which led the Scuderia to release the following statement: “In relation to speculation in certain media regarding Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto’s position, Ferrari state that these rumours are totally without foundation.”
In Abu Dhabi, Leclerc addressed those reports himself, and said: “Overall, there are always rumours around Formula 1 and especially around Ferrari, and this doesn’t change, obviously. When we are getting to the end of the season, there are always voices around us.
“But I think as a team we really need to focus on our job, on trying to extract all of the things that are happening around the team; people tend to forget how big of a step we have done from last year to this year.
“There’s definitely another step that we need to do but I am sure that we’ll do it altogether, starting with this race – hopefully we can finish on a high this season – but apart from that, there’s nothing more to say; I don’t think we shall give too much attention to [the rumours].”
Leclerc added that “stability” would only help the Scuderia to deliver in the future, even if his team had fallen short of challenging Red Bull for the titles in 2022.
“I think stability is paying off. I mean, we’ve been showing in the last few years that we are improving, as I was saying earlier; then there’s another step that we need to do, but we are working on that, and I’m sure we will achieve that.”
Having entered Abu Dhabi level on points with Sergio Perez as the pair square off for second in the drivers’ championship, Leclerc said that clinching the runner-up spot would be a just reward after what he called “two difficult years” at Ferrari.
“It’s been a bit up and down in the past few races. Brazil has been good but unfortunately our first lap-incident [with Lando Norris, on the Lap 7 restart] it was all about coming back to the front. But the pace was there, so I hope we will be strong enough to fight for the top positions,” he said.
“Obviously we are fighting for second place in the drivers’ championship and also for second place in the constructors’ championship, and again, after going through two very tough years in 2020 and 2021, it will be good to be back fighting at the top, even though our goal is to fight for the championship eventually. After these two difficult years, it will be good to be second.”