Matt Baker, Rob Smedley and Matt Gallagher appear on the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 podcast; they discuss whether Charles Leclerc can win a World Drivers’ Championship with Ferrari; watch Australian Grand Prix live on Sky Sports, with P1 live from 3am on Friday.
By Amar Mehta
Last Updated: 28/03/23 8:43pm
Matt Gallagher, co-host of P1 with Matt and Tommy, believes Charles Leclerc will never win a World Championship title at Ferrari.
Charles Leclerc will not win a World Championship with Ferrari, according to Matt Gallagher, co-host of P1 with Matt and Tommy.
Speaking ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Gallagher believes it is a question of when rather than if the 25-year-old wins a championship.
However, he thinks there are still issues for Ferrari to iron out before they can challenge for the top honour, and questioned whether the Italian manufacturer will be able to hold onto him long enough.
“It’s very difficult. If they are able to iron out some things, not even things to do with their car, just the way in which they go about their strategy and calls, they definitely have a better chance,” he said.
“It’s more about if Ferrari can keep him long enough until they do have a championship-winning car. I am going to go with a no.”
Last season was promising for Ferrari but ended in disappointment and, during the off-season, they have removed Mattia Binotto as team principal, with Frederic Vasseur taking the mantle and joining from Alfa Romeo.
Two races into the 2023 season, Ferrari appears to have fallen further behind Red Bull.
In Bahrain, Carlos Sainz finished in fourth place, 10 seconds behind Fernando Alonso and Leclerc was forced to retire due to an electrical issue.
Sainz and Leclerc finished sixth and seventh respectively in Saudi Arabia. Leclerc’s disappointing start means he sits 38 points behind Max Verstappen overall, after finishing in second place last season.
‘Ferrari should see Vasseur’s green shoots in six months’
Ferrari’s former race engineer Rob Smedley thinks patience will be needed before Vasseur’s impact is seen.
“You should be able to see good people who are effective and can get on with it, and who are allowed to get on with it,” he said.
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“You would see changes in six months. You won’t get change overnight or instantaneously. Within six months, you can start to see the green shoots of the strategy you can see in place.
“Probably the middle of this season is when we will see the differences. Your first months are interviews and talking to the media, after that you can get a feel for the place, to understand how the place works and then after three months you can make changes.
“The green shoots of the changes won’t be seen until another three months.”
Matt Gallagher, co-host of P1 with Matt and Tommy, and Rob Smedley, former Ferrari race engineer, discuss F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s comments that practice sessions should be cancelled.
Smedley: Getting rid of practice would make it harder for teams
F1 president Stefano Domenicali caused a stir recently when he said that he was in favour of removing practice sessions from the race weekend.
“I am a supporter of the cancellation of free practice sessions,” he reportedly told Portuguese broadcaster SportTV.
“Which are of great use to the engineers but that the public doesn’t like.”
While F1 hasn’t confirmed if they are discussing changes to the weekend race schedule, Smedley and Gallagher believe it would be a mistake to remove practice.
Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz explains what happened in the off-season and what to look out for this year in Formula One.
“It’s hard now, especially with the little teams and the amount of capital investment in the teams with the cost cap, to get rid of the free practice element,” Smedley said.
“Otherwise, there is no track time left. It becomes harder and harder on the technical team and for teams to be able to understand their cars and catch up.”
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Gallagher added: “If you’re scrapping all the practice sessions, what’s left? It’s the time when you can see most of the cars, Friday is usually cheaper.
“I like sprint race weekends, but only as an occasional one. I don’t want that to be a full calendar year.
“Maybe it’s been ingrained in me. I do wonder where Stefano is going with this. Don’t get rid of practice, maybe there can be ways of tweaking a sprint race weekend.”
Watch the Australian Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 between March 31 and April 2. Get Sky Sports