Leclerc confident of Ferrari title challenge despite Red Bull admission
Charles Leclerc is confident Ferrari can compete with Red Bull for both titles in the new Formula One season.
Ferrari failed to capitalise on their strengths last year and compete with Max Verstappen, who waltzed to a second consecutive championship title.
Early signs ahead of the 2023 season suggest Red Bull remain ahead of their rivals, with Leclerc admitting that is a perception he holds.
However, he believes Ferrari can mount a threat over the course of the season due to the developments from last year.
"From what I can see, it seems Red Bull is a bit ahead. But it's a long season, our goal is still to win the championship," he told Sky Sports.
"I am confident. We have great guys in Maranello, I think we have shown it with the big step forward from 2021 to 2022.
"There were too many mistakes in 2022, we know that, but we've been very honest with ourselves in order to get better for this season.
"The target is still [to win the title]. Even if we are starting a bit of the back foot compared to them in terms of performance, I'm sure we can come back."
Leclerc's assessment that Red Bull begin the campaign ahead of their rivals is shared by Mercedes' George Russell, who expects them to dominate the opening weekend in Bahrain.
"It probably wasn't the smoothest three days we could have hoped for at testing. But the learning we found is going to put us in better stead for this weekend," he said in Thursday's press conference.
"I think it’s definitely fair to say Red Bull are in a league of their own this weekend. But it'll probably be a nice fight for second between Ferrari and Aston Martin."