Formula 1 2022 Pre-Season Testing at Barcelona, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc managed to set top times. This immediately led to speculation from Mercedes, but according to Leclerc one should not prejudge the issues.
Charles Leclerc says there is a notable difference in how the all-new 2022 cars can follow, but it all depends on the distance.
This year the Formula 1 cars are completely different to last season’s, the sport moving away from over-car airflow to ground effect aerodynamics meaning a suction is created underneath the car to pull it onto the track.
The drivers put in their first laps in the brand new cars in Spain this past week, spending three days at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Rather than chasing lap times, the test was about getting to know the new cars and focusing on reliability.
Ferrari did just that, the busiest team over the three days with 439 laps, 46 more than what Mercedes covered.
Charles Leclerc is happy that the first winter test went well, but on the other hand also recognizes that Ferrari has to keep a cool head.
“Of course it’s nice to see yourself on P1, but it doesn’t mean anything. I think everyone in the team is aware of that,” he said in conversation with Sky Sports.
Leclerc, though, did deliberately spend time following other cars to get a feel for how the new car behaves in those circumstances.
“It is quite interesting,” the Monegasque driver told Motorsport.com, “because I’ll say from three seconds to one second behind the car in front, you actually can follow closer.
“Then from one second to five-tenths I will say it’s similar to the feeling I had last year.
“And then from five tenths to extremely close, then this is much better than last year.
“It is nice, it’s interesting. I mean, I’ll have to do a few more laps behind a car, but it’s looking good for now.”
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Ferrari impressed in testing, tackling the top of the timesheets along with McLaren on day one and two.
However, on the overall timesheet Leclerc fell to fifth place, behind both Mercedes drivers, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris.
Ferrari’s form again has pundits and rivals alike saying the Scuderia are looking good. Leclerc has downplayed this.
“We have no idea where we are in terms of performance, and that’s impossible to know either,” he said.
But he concedes so far so good for Ferrari.
“It was quite good. We passed all the tests that we wanted to do,” he said. “And that was the most important thing: drive as many kilometres as we can.”
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HIGHLIGHTS EPRIX 1 – DE VRIES WINS WET VALENCIA
|F1 PRE-SEASON TESTING 2023|
|Date||Morning Session||Afternoon Session|
|Day 1||23rd February||8:00am – 12:00pm||1:00pm – 5:00pm|
|Day 2||24th February||8:00am – 12:00pm||1:00pm – 5:00pm|
|Day 3||25th February||8:00am – 12:00pm||1:00pm – 5:00pm|
|2023 F1 Car Launches|
|Red Bull||RB19||03 February|
|Alfa Romeo||C43||07 February|
|Aston Martin||AMR23||13 February|
|Bahrain 2023||05 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|
|2023 F1 Calendar|
|3||Australian||Albert P||2nd Apr.|
|4||Azerbaijan||Baku City||30th Apr.|
|5||Miami||Baku City||7th May|
|Drivers Standings 2023|