Romain Grosjean has stated his disbelief at Ferrari’s 2022 season but has backed them for a big return to form in 2023.
On paper, the first P2 finish for three years and Charles Leclerc’s highest ever finish in the Drivers’ Standings should read as a successful season for Ferrari but anyone who had even a passing glance at the actual racing, would have noticed anything but a happy camp.
The Italians started 2023 strongly, winning two of the first three races, but that form spectacularly fell away until Red Bull were a speck on the hill as they disappeared over the horizon.
Leclerc would add just one more win to his tally while team-mate Carlos Sainz did manage to secure a maiden victory, but it was his only one of the season.
In the end, Ferrari spent more time looking over their shoulder at the recovering Mercedes with the Italian team needing until the final race in Abu Dhabi to secure their P2 spot.
Despite never having featured for Ferrari themselves, former F1 man Grosjean will be familiar with how the team operates having been a driver for a customer team for four years and the Frenchman said it was “crazy” to think that neither Ferrari or Leclerc would have been champions after the first three races.
“After the first three races you’d be crazy not to think that Ferrari is going to be World Champion with Charles Leclerc,” the now IndyCar driver told the Motorsport Magazine podcast. “And here we go, they almost did finish second.
“So I guess that’s where the disappointment comes from for Charles. If George [Russell] finished second in the Championship, it would have meant something but when you actually lead the Championship by, what was it, 45 or 65 points over Max [Verstappen] and you finish behind, it hurts.”
Grosjean has however tipped the Scuderia to return to form and backed them for a strong 2023 provided they do not find themselves chasing Red Bull once again.
“I think Ferrari is going to be strong next year,” the 179-race starter said. “I think they definitely had a very fast car in qualifying.
“Charles has been doing a great job, he made a few mistakes, but it’s always when you try to catch up that you make mistakes. If you’re at the front and things are very smooth, it’s kind of easier than when you’re trying to catch up because there were a few things that put you on the backfoot.
“So I’m very impressed with Charles and I think Ferrari’s going to learn from this year and I think they will be in the mix next year.”
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