Ferrari “to now start preparing for next year” reveals Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc has seemingly accepted defeat in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the returning Singapore Grand Prix, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver wanting his Italian side to “start preparing for next year”.

Formula 1 returns to Singapore this weekend for the first time since 2019, following a two-year absence following the Coronavirus pandemic. With this weekend being the most demanding of the year, Leclerc has made sure to train especially hard to get himself as prepared as possible for the torture to come on Sunday at the Marina Bay Circuit.

“This time, before Singapore, we had a two week break so we could prepare even more specifically. Personally, I trained in a sauna to get my body used to the very high temperatures that one encounters in the car.

“It’s vital to look at every detail, which of course is always the case but in the closing stages of the race, you need a clear mind to make up for the fact your body is getting more and more tired. It is one of the challenges of this track that makes it one of my favourites along with Monaco and Baku.”

The Monegasque driver has seemingly accepted defeat to Max Verstappen in the race to the crown, with the Dutchman being able to wrap his second championship up this weekend should results go this way.

If Leclerc wants to make Verstappen wait, then the Ferrari driver needs to finish in the top eight, or hope that Sergio Pérez finishes in the top four. Despite that, Leclerc is hoping his team can use the last six races to “strive to be perfect” in 2023, where he’ll hope to have another competitive car.

“We want to improve how we operate on a Sunday. To do that we need to put together our potential and that of the car at every occasion. When we have done that, we have got the results we expected, but we haven’t always managed it.

“Since the summer break, Red Bull seems to have made another step forward in terms of its competitiveness. Usually this season we have been strongest in qualifying, but in the race, for various reasons, we have let points slip away. If we want to aim much higher next year, we have to always strive to be perfect and we want to use these last six races to now start preparing for next year.”

“You battle the last ten laps with your mind” – Carlos Sainz Jr.

Carlos Sainz Jr. has revealed how he likes the Singapore weekend “so much” because it is “so difficult” to tame, with the Spaniard admitting that his winter training is done with this specific weekend in mind.

“When I start training in January and February, I never think about the first race of the season, it’s this one.

“Because this is where you face the hardest conditions. There are other races with very high temperatures, but only here is the humidity suffocating and that, combined with the fact the track runs anticlockwise, makes it particularly tiring on the neck. Added to that, the track is very bumpy and there you have the full picture. It’s not just physical, it’s also mentally demanding, because you battle the last ten laps or so with your mind as much as your muscles.”

Due to it being a street circuit and also an incredibly long venue, Safety Cars are somewhat common during what is usually the longest race of the year.

The weather can also “play a part” during the Singapore GP, with thunderstorms forecast for the entirety of the weekend, with Sainz aware you “can’t rule out the chance of rain”.

Should conditions remain normal this weekend, then the Spanish driver is expecting to be fighting amongst the frontrunners but doesn’t put himself or his team down as favourites for the victory.

“The walls are very close and at street circuits, that’s always a challenge within a challenge, but above all, we like it so much because it is so difficult.

Then there are also so many variables: the weather can always play a part and you can’t rule out the chance of rain, while the Safety Car can mix up the order at any moment. Are we the favourites? I’d say not, but I expect we’ll be able to fight at the front.”

Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office