Leclerc: 2021 cars more difficult to manage on corner entry

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc says Formula 1's 2021 cars are more difficult to manage on the entry to corners thanks to the new aero rules.

Leclerc: 2021 cars more difficult to manage on corner entry

As part of a push by the FIA to slow cars down for this year, a number of changes were made to the regulations to cut downforce.

A section of floor has been removed ahead of the rear wheels, plus new restrictions have been imposed on brake ducts and diffuser dimensions.

With downforce cut by up to 10 percent, the cars have been slowed – and Leclerc has noticed a change in approach even if the 2021 challengers do not require an all-new style.

"In terms of driving [style] there were no changes, but there is something different," he said in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com's Italian site. 

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

"You have to push a little less when entering corners, because the rear of the car is more difficult to manage due to the modified floor."

Leclerc is a driver who likes the rear end of his cars to be loose, as it allows him better rotation in the corners. It was believed to be a factor in why he struggled much less with last year's Ferrari than then teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Reflecting on what he learned last year about why he had the edge over Vettel in getting the most out of the SF1000, he said: "I think in the end it's really a question of feeling and driving style.

"I like a rear that moves so that I can use it to turn the car. Other drivers suffer from this aspect. The SF1000 had a rear that wasn't very stable, and that was never a problem for me, but I can't answer for Seb. It's just a characteristics that suits my driving style."

One other approach to driving that Leclerc has changed in his career is how he gauges the level of aggression against other drivers in battles.

Read Also:

After famously losing a win at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix after banging wheels with Max Verstappen, Leclerc responded by vowing to race harder after then.

Thanks to a subsequent response by F1's stewards to let drivers race more, Leclerc says his approach remains the same today.

"I think it was good for our sport, and I said that straight away at the end of that race despite being disappointed with the result," he explained.

"I always thought that if they had allowed us to race with fewer constraints, we would have been able to offer more spectacular races.

"But we needed consistency from the stewards, as it happened then. From that moment on, we had the certainty of being able to push more in hand-to-hand combat without the fear of running into penalties, and I adapted well to this new situation."

shares
comments
Mercedes reshuffles F1 technical team, Allison promoted to CTO

Previous article

Mercedes reshuffles F1 technical team, Allison promoted to CTO

Next article

Renewed Miami GP F1 bid faces crucial city council vote

Renewed Miami GP F1 bid faces crucial city council vote
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Charles Leclerc
Teams Scuderia Ferrari
Author Jonathan Noble
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021