Leclerc spent more time than ever at Ferrari in F1 2021 build-up

Charles Leclerc says he spent more time than ever with Ferrari in his preparations for the new Formula 1 season after completely recovering from COVID-19.

Leclerc spent more time than ever at Ferrari in F1 2021 build-up

Leclerc revealed in January that he had tested positive for COVID-19 following a trip to Dubai, but was able to link back up with Ferrari at the end of the month to complete some testing in a 2018-spec car.

The Monegasque driver is entering his third season with Ferrari after leading its campaign in 2020, scoring two podium finishes and close to triple the points of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

But Leclerc felt he still had still plenty of room for improvement heading into this year, and that he had spent a sizeable amount of time with Ferrari at its Maranello base during the off-season to work on those areas.

“I think I’ve never been as in Ferrari as much as this season before the actual start of the season,” Leclerc said.

“We’ve also been doing quite a bit of tests with the old car, so I feel very ready. I’ve been working in a similar way as I’ve done in the past, trying to understand what were my weaknesses last year.

“I still believe that tyre management is something I shall push. I’ve improved massively last year, and I hope that will be another step this year.

“That’s what I’ve done basically, trying to look at past races, trying to understand what could we have done better as a team, as myself, in the car, and yeah, try to improve on [tyre management] especially.”

Charles Leclerc at Fiorano

Charles Leclerc at Fiorano

As well as running in the 2018 SF71H at Fiorano in January, Leclerc also took part in a Pirelli tyre test last month using a 2019 mule car to help develop the new 18-inch rubber for 2022.

He will get a first extended run in Ferrari’s new car, the SF21, at the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain later this week, two weeks before the start of the new season.

Leclerc is one of six F1 drivers to have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The severity of the virus has differed between the group, with some being harder hit than others.

Lance Stroll said last week that he “underestimated” the impact COVID-19 had on his season last year after becoming ill ahead of the Eifel Grand Prix, and that it took time to get completely over it.

But Leclerc was confident he had fully recovered from the virus, having undergone specific tests to ensure his fitness was at its regular levels ahead of the new season.

“I’ve recovered completely,” Leclerc said. “It didn’t hit me that bad, luckily, so I feel completely fine.

“I’ve done some physical tests just after COVID to be sure that everything came back to normal, and it’s the case. “So all good on that.”

shares
comments

Related video

Vettel: Nothing to prove to F1 critics who wrote me off

Previous article

Vettel: Nothing to prove to F1 critics who wrote me off

Next article

Renault: Engine freeze allows 2023 ideas to be fast-tracked

Renault: Engine freeze allows 2023 ideas to be fast-tracked
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Charles Leclerc
Teams Ferrari
Author Luke Smith
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021