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2022 car "very different", says Leclerc

NEWS STORY
01/07/2021

Having driven a virtual version of Ferrari's proposed 2022 contender, Charles Leclerc admits that it feels "very different" to its predecessor the SF21.

The Monegasque is the first driver to experience the great hope for F1's future - albeit the simulated version - as the sport prepares for the biggest overhaul of its rules in living memory, aimed at levelling the playing field and spicing up the racing.

"It feels very different," Leclerc told reporters at the Red Bull Ring as the Austrian Grand Prix weekend got underway. "It's a question mark for everyone whether we are developing well or not.

"It's such a different project," he continued, "it's very, very early days, so nobody knows where we are positioning ourselves compared to the others. But we are working on it."

Asked what input he and his teammate, Carlos Sainz are having, he replied: "It is difficult, because for now it's only numbers and predictions, but we can definitely give our feedback, especially in the simulator.

"We’re lucky to have a very good simulator in Ferrari," he continued, "and we can try different things in that simulator and there, the driver input is very, very important. On other things for now, it's very early days for us to actually say something.

"The only thing we can do is try to work in the best way possible with Carlos to try and explain what are the weaknesses of this year's car, try to understand why we have those weaknesses and try to not reproduce those mistakes for next year's car, even though the project is completely different.

"So I would say on the simulator, we've got quite a big input and we can help a lot, and also with this year's feedback to try and help the team to work in the right direction and for them to know exactly what they need to go quick."

Following the nightmare that was Paul Ricard, last weekend's result was pretty much unexpected by the Italian team which admits to a long-term issue with front tyre wear.

"There's been a lot of work between Paul Ricard and Austria," said Leclerc. "Of course I don't think we expected such a step, but it's also a result of the work of the team.

"But we shouldn't get carried away," he admitted. "As big of a surprise as it was, in a bad way, in Paul Ricard, it's been a very, very good surprise also this Sunday. But we need to understand exactly how we managed to get that result on Sunday.

"We've got some things that we think are helping that performance last Sunday, but we don't understand the whole picture of it, so first to try and reproduce this type of performance consistently throughout the year, we'll have to understand why we managed to do that on Sunday."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 03/07/2021 1:51

"@ Max...Very true, early days but if they continue along this path we are in for a bunch of stunning looking cars. As for the 'halo' we will have to agree to disagree. That's the beauty of freedom of thought/speech. From a pure design POV the halo completes the image of flowing/following lines of trajectory without any conflicting construction elements. The open space at the top of the screen is, I should expect, identical to that of the halo for safe egress. From the safety angle the screen covers all possible interventions whereas the halo would not prevent a Massa style event!. Basically the only time you see a full image of the screen is when some light is reflected otherwise it's virtually invisible. For me the screen is aesthetically a winner ...but one mans trash is another's treasure. "

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2. Posted by Oil Leak77, 02/07/2021 15:36

"Supposed to be closer racing, yet a disparity between development stages and money spent has already set in.
I would have prefered to seen the cars released undeveloped in 2021 with adjustments made in the Championship, call it development season and maybe test new drivers.
"

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3. Posted by Max Noble, 02/07/2021 9:08

"@kenji - agree they are actually looking really nice at this stage… Still a long way from the first grid formation, but it is promising. The simulators are where all the great teams have been pouring the dollars with the massive reduction in real world running. Fascinating to see how this turns out now it has become a software arms race. Final point… I think the HALO looks better than the Indycar solution. The screen is so, so close to a closed in cockpit (Le Mans Car) that I cannot do it. F1 actually gets my vote for HALO… safe, but still open…"

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4. Posted by kenji, 02/07/2021 1:26

"If the early images of the new car are an indicator of the finished article then they would have to be the best looking cars we've seen for a very very long time. The current crop are simply ugly and festooned with bits and pieces tacked on to any surface not previously adorned. I'm certain that the cars will be very very different to drive simply because of the altered design parameters. What I don't understand is why the 'screen ' hasn't been incorporated as well? Indy cars look so much more sleek and exciting....."

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