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Ferrari trio reflect on Fiorano test

NEWS STORY
30/01/2022

Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Robert Schwartzman were all in action for Ferrari at Fiorano this week.

The test got underway on Wednesday with the Russian getting things going in the SF71H, Ferrari having had to abandon plans to run its 2021 car following rules "confusion".

On Thursday, Sainz and Leclerc were on duty, the Spaniard heading out at 09:30 in far from ideal conditions, with the temperature at 3 degrees and damp patches on the track.

"Exactly one year ago, I drove a Ferrari for the first time," recalled Sainz, who completed 59 laps. "And I have to say that, even if a lot of things have changed, given that I now know everyone and I feel really at home, driving here is always special. I was very happy to see so many of our fans watching from outside the track, which is why I wanted to go and say hello to them when I'd finished my session.

"At the moment, like all the other drivers in fact, we are working in the simulator or training really hard in the gym," he continued, explaining the need for the test. "However, when it comes to demands placed on the body, nothing can match actually being in the car. That's why, being able to drive before the start of the season, no matter in what car, is always very useful for a driver. It gives your body a wake-up call, reminding you what it means to be a Formula 1 driver."

Straight after lunch, Leclerc, who received a warm welcome from the fans watching the test from outside the facility, took over, the Monegasque completing 48 laps.

"Our supporters are special," he said. "It's really cold today, but they didn't want to miss out on this first event of the new season. At least I had the engine to keep me warm, but they are really fantastic!

"After a month and a half without sitting in the cockpit, I was really keen to drive again," he added. "It was great fun and also useful training. I can't wait to be back on track in Barcelona with the 2022 car to really start this new Formula 1 era and see if all the work we have done since last year will pay off in terms of the competitiveness we expect."

Friday was al about Shwartzman, the Russian completing 121 laps over the course of the day. The start of the day was delayed by around half an hour because of fog, which meant the first corner could not be seen from the garage, which is the standard safety check for visibility at the Ferrari-owned track.

Visibility gradually improved and Schwartzman began his day's work around 10:00. The team made the most of the track conditions which went from damp to completely dry by midday when the sun appeared, to try various settings affecting the balance of the car, changing them as the track dried out with each passing lap. Shwartzman also continued to get a better understanding of the various car procedures.

"These past few days, I have driven my first laps as a Scuderia test driver," beamed the Russian, "and I cannot deny I am very proud of my role.

"It's always nice to drive a Formula 1 car and I hope there will be further opportunities during the year," he added. "My approach to the season will be completely different this year, as I am not taking part in any championship. I am completely available to the team, with whom I want to be fully immersed as there is a lot to learn. My aim is to get to race in Formula 1 and I think that the test driver role is the best way to get there. When the time comes, I want to be ready."

Over the three days of running, the three drivers completed 272 laps, equivalent to 811 kilometres (503 miles). Schwartzman completed a total of 165 laps, Sainz and Leclerc drove for 59 and 48 laps respectively on Thursday.

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