Mercedes endured a tricky start to 2022, struggling with porpoising amid the new technical regulations.

Once they got it sorted, Mercedes slowly improved, with George Russell dominating the Sao Paulo Grand Prix to take his maiden victory.

What went wrong for Mattia Binotto? What next for Ferrari?

For much of the second half of the season, Mercedes moved ahead of Ferrari, even threatening the Scuderia for second in the championship.

Speaking at the FIA’s Prize Gala in December, Leclerc explained that he expects Mercedes to be in the fight.

“I do believe that Mercedes will be in the fight,” Leclerc said. “We’ve seen how much they’ve improved from the first race to the last race. I think they understood what they did wrong. 

“This is normally the sign that it will go better. So hopefully it will be a three team fight next year.”

He was then asked if he would prefer to have a three way battle at the front of the field rather than a duel, Leclerc added: “Of course.”

“But not only me, I think everybody,” he continued. “I think the more cars are involved, the closer the cars are, the happier the drivers are, because that’s when it gets interesting.”

Leclerc will look to mount his first title charge with Ferrari in F1 2023.

He will continue to race alongside Carlos Sainz for a third consecutive season.

Frederic Vasseur has been drafted in as the team’s new team boss following Mattia Binotto’s departure.