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Set-up changes can minimise impact of new F1 tyre influence - Leclerc

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc does not expect Pirelli’s new construction of Formula 1 tyres to influence car performance in 2023, saying set-up changes can minimise its impact.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Ferrari

Although the tyre compounds remaining unchanged from 2022 – other than the addition of a new C1, with the previous tyre of that specification becoming a new C0 to close the performance gap between the harder rubber types and those typically used as mediums – Pirelli has changed the construction of all its tyres.

The main changes have been made to the front tyres to reduce the understeer problem detested by drivers such as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, but the rear axle rubber construction has also been altered.

The teams were able to sample the 2023 tyres during the post-season test running in Abu Dhabi, which Leclerc explained meant they could get an early start on adjusting set-ups and driving styles accordingly to ensure the best performance from the new tyres.

“We already tried them a little bit in Abu Dhabi last year,” Leclerc said at Ferrari’s 2023 team launch at its Fiorano track last week.

“It feels like it’s a stronger front tyre, so this can modify a bit the balance.

“But it’s actually pretty easy to shadow that with the car, and balance it in the other direction for it to be basically a transparent change. So, I don’t think it will have a big effect.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Ferrari

Ferrari’s 2022 campaign featured a problem with the team being consistent on tyre management – losing races at Imola and Miami to Red Bull as a result, although Leclerc denied Sergio Perez second place in the drivers’ standings behind Verstappen with an impressive one-stopper at the season finale.

When asked what the new tyres might mean for Ferrari’s prospects in this critical area for race results Leclerc replied: “In terms of degradation, yeah maybe it’s a bit of a stronger front tyre.

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“But for us, last year, it wasn’t always the same issue when we were speaking about tyre degradation. Sometimes it was the front, sometimes it was the rear.

“It was more the way we managed those tyres, and what we thought the degradation was going to go, and on that we have done a lot of work, which I think we are better than last year.

“But again, I don’t think the change of tyres will help us or hurt us in any way.”

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