In his second season of Formula 3, Arthur Leclerc is failing to improve his consistency and the results needed to become champion.
Inconsistent and reckless. Two words that come to mind when looking back at the last two seasons for Arthur Leclerc in Formula 3. Two reasons which continue to be an obstacle in young Monegasque’s quest for glory.
In January 2020, Leclerc announced that he had joined the Ferrari Drivers Academy, where his brother Charles had been during his junior days. He also announced he will be racing for Prema Racing during the 2020 Formula Regional European Championship (FREC). Although the field wasn’t that competitive he finished P2 in the standings (taking six victories) and finished just sixteen points behind Gianluca Petecof after he retired in the last race.
A successful FREC campaign saw Arthur step up into Formula 3, again racing for Prema. Prema is a team that has found success in the junior categories, taking back-to-back championships in 2019-20, they were highly expected to continue their winning ways. Prema failed in their mission to make it a third last season as they lost out to Trident by only four points.
Leclerc Outshined in F3 Debut
Leclerc’s teammates consisted of Ollie Caldwell and rookie, and FREC teammate, Dennis Hauger. Leclerc’s campaign was abysmal as he finished ten of his nineteen races outside of the points, taking only three podiums (two wins and a third place). Finishing tenth in the standings and last on his team. Caldwell finished eighth in the standings, taking four podiums, and finished consistently in the points. Rookie Haugher went on to become the 2021 Formula 3 champion and progressed onto Formula 2 for this season.
The harsh truth is that Leclerc cost the team the championship. Even with a fast car, he failed to score points where his teammates could.
Nonetheless, Leclerc was retained for the 2022 campaign, alongside teammates Jak Crawford and rookie Oliver Bearman. Leclerc’s racing skills have improved drastically as he currently sits third in the championship on ninety-five points. With only six races left he is nineteen points behind tied leaders Isack Hadjar and Victor Martins.
Although Leclerc’s ability has improved, he relies heavily on his overtaking ability. Crawling his way up the field as he finds himself qualifying out of the top ten compared to his teammates, who sit fourth and fifth in the championship both tied on eighty points.
Leclerc has also been prone to making reckless mistakes, needlessly earning himself time penalties that place him further down the order. He has also been known to make overly ambitious moves when overtaking, more recently on his teammate Crawford in Hungary, where on the last lap he made a needless move for P4 which resulted in both him and his teammate spinning and ending up at the back of the field.
— Formula 3 (@FIAFormula3) May 22, 2022
Missing a Champions’ Consistency
Champion leaders Hadjar and Martins have consistently found themselves finishing in the top five, both taking multiple wins and podiums. Same as Hauger who also found himself finishing in the top five and taking multiple wins and podiums up in F2. Leclerc lacks the consistency needed to be Formula 3 champion.
Although Arthur Leclerc may never be Formula 3 champion, that doesn’t mean to say he doesn’t have talent or can’t step up into Formula 2. Leclerc has shown potential to be a champion when he dominated his way to the title during the Formula Regional Asian Championship in February 2022. Only time will tell if he can reign in his mistakes to put together a season of champion-worthy performances.