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Leclerc: Five more wins can make me an F1 champion

Ferrari are hoping that their decision to abandon development on their 2021 car midway through last season will give them a 2022 head start.

The excitement is building ahead of the new Formula 1 season as all 10 teams head to Bahrain for three more days of testing. The teams will take to the Bahrain International Circuit from 10-12 March, with many expected to deploy very different cars to the ones that were seen on track in Barcelona last month. McLaren and Ferrari were the stars of the show at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – but there was still pace and reliability shown by Mercedes and Red Bull which, despite lagging behind initially, ended the final day by registering the fastest times of the week. Ferrari will not be bringing many upgrades to Bahrain, team boss Mattia Binotto has confirmed, while Mercedes have been tipped to bring a very different machine. Charles Leclerc is well aware of how important the 2022 season could prove to be for the team. After abandoning upgrades on their 2021 car early to prepare for the new regulations while Mercedes and Red Bull fought it out for the championship, Ferrari are hoping the car they put on track in Barcelona is good enough to put themselves right in the title fight. "The last two years have been difficult," Leclerc told French broadcaster Canal+ ahead of the new season. "The pressure on Ferrari is always big but we reacted as a team and prepared well for the new set of rules this year."

Leclerc says Ferrari remain calm but optimistic

Seven of the last nine World Champions have ended the season with 10 or more race wins – but during an era of dominance by Mercedes and Red Bull. The 2022 regulations aim to level the playing field somewhat, returning the sport to a time when multiple constructors could be fighting for the win during any given weekend. "If we deliver consistent performances, five wins can be enough to win the world title," continued Leclerc, a two-time Grand Prix winner, taking a lesson from history. Sebastian Vettel won two of his four world titles with five wins, while Jenson Button was crowned as champion in 2009 despite having only stood on the podium nine times. "The test days in Bahrain are very important in preparing for the first race of the season," added Leclerc. "We remain cautious because we don't yet know where we stand. But we are very motivated and want to fight at the top."

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