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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Leclerc: Left front tyres will be “crying” at revised Barcelona circuit

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc believes left front tyres will be “crying” at the revised Barcelona track during this weekend’s Formula 1 Spanish GP.

Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari

The chicane before the last corner has been removed from the layout creating a high-speed run through what are now Turns 13 and 14 that puts extra stress on the tyres.

Tyre management has been a key issue in F1 this season, with some teams struggling more than others, and Red Bull showing clear superiority over rivals at most venues.

“I think the left front will be crying for the whole race,” said Leclerc when asked by Autosport about the revised Barcelona track.

“It’s the same for everybody, it’s going to be a big challenge I think in terms of setup, and also to try and help that left front as much as possible.

“I hope that with the new parts we bring, we will be good in terms of tyre management, because I expect this to be the main thing in Barcelona.”

McLaren's Lando Norris has also flagged that the new layout will be tougher on drivers.

“It will be even more physical on the neck, so I’m not looking forward to it at all,” said Norris. “Whether it’s going to make for better racing, I hope so.

“It’s a tricky last corner, to be honest. I wouldn’t say it’s going to be flat-out, but I think it should help with the racing.

“It might become more of a management race than what it already is, and it’s already a huge management race.”

Pirelli tyres

Pirelli tyres

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Teams are already well prepared for protecting tyres to be the major focus of the weekend.

"I think what's going to be really interesting there is how the tyres react to it, particularly the front left side,” said Williams head of performance Dave Robson.

“You've got those four big right fast right-hand corners now. So I think that will dictate a lot of what we need for the race car at least, the downforce level and the balance, how that front left tyre behaves."

“It will be tougher on the left front but we go from the softest tyres [in Monaco], to the hardest tyres,” added Alpine sporting director Alan Permane. “So Pirelli has taken that into account.

“I certainly don’t see that as being a problem for us particularly more than anyone else. It may well force teams into two stops or something like that. Our car isn’t particularly hard on tyres, so no issues.”

Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola pointed out that without the acceleration zone out of the chicane the rear tyres now take less of a pounding.

"It’s probably a bit harder than usual for the left front but a bit less for the rear tyres because Sector 3 was very stressful for traction,” he told Autosport/Motorsport.com.

“So it's bit more lateral, a bit less traction. We’ve got the simulation from the teams, and we had already a couple of sessions with F3 and F2, the in-season test. And so we have an idea.

“We have now C1, C2 and C3. Last year we had what we now call C0, but it was too hard. And everybody was on the C2 and C3, and we had three stops.

“The new C1 is much closer to the C2. So I can imagine that we will have a mix of strategies, maybe using all the three compounds. We need to make some calculations, but it's probably a two-stop race.”

Pirelli tyres are wheeled through the pitlane

Pirelli tyres are wheeled through the pitlane

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Isola also noted that the first public appearance of Pirelli’s blanket-less wet tyres – used by several drivers in the Monaco GP last weekend – went well.

"It was the first time in a race condition, because we tested this product without blankets,” he noted.

“Monte Carlo is quite a unique circuit, but if you look at the lap times we had a slot in which Max [Verstappen] on the inter and Nico [Hulkenberg] on the full wet were setting the same lap time. That means that the wet was working well."

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