Formula 1 | Why was Leclerc better suited to the Ferrari F1-75?
Ferrari’s 2022 season was also marked by a duel between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
The Monegasque started the year better, with the Spaniard adapting better to F1-75. The end of the season was finally more tense between the two drivers.
How does Leclerc explain that this head started on his side? Was it only related to the new F1? Or should he have changed his approach with the ground effect?
“I’ve changed a few things. The way I work. How I organize myself at home. I was a little free last year.” reveals.
“Every time I was at home I was doing a thousand things. To be honest, in 2021 I was very tired from the middle to the end of the season. It affected me and it affected the performance.”
“Maybe this car suits me better. We had a great winter test. We tried a lot of things. We paid a lot of attention to how I could drive the car. It helped me start the season on a high. I could pay attention to the details.
Are these cars really that different to drive?
“First you pay attention to the weight, it’s more important. The car just feels slow. If you lose the rear, it’s harder to stop the car. In the previous years I was in Formula 1. When the car was lighter and easier to hold. With. The brake is also different because of the weight. “Front wheel lock is a big problem. We’ve seen it a lot this season.”
So the brakes were sometimes better before?
“Yes, but it’s always difficult to ask that of a Formula 1 driver. It’s easier for us to push harder. Control is another thing. With these cars, you had to do that.”
What was the secret then?
“These cars encourage understeer. I prefer that because I really hate oversteer. Maybe that worked in my favor over Carlos.”
“We did a really good job in winter testing and quickly focused on the balance – making the car feel a bit livelier from the rear for me without sacrificing performance. “Then you have to strengthen the front end and provide the appropriate support. Staying behind throughout the season to keep this character that I love.”
However, this is not what the drivers prefer in the race, as driving the rear wheels of an overdrive car is not ideal for long distances…
“Yes, but you have more control with a steerable car. That’s how I see it. You steer, the car does what you say. I feel like a passive passenger in a steered car. .The car doesn’t just sit behind the wheel in the middle of a corner. Even I don’t know what to do then. I always prefer to stay in control. Even if it’s sometimes a bit difficult to drive the car. Sometimes you put the rear wheels a little bit more. But for me it’s the fastest on the track. You can’t beat that in a race.”
How long did it take him to understand what kind of driving style 2022 F1 requires?
“Winter testing was enough this season. In the end, I knew what to do with the car. During the year you learn different things that you don’t have time to test. Winter. It comes with experience. But the general concept of handling this F1 was there in my opinion after winter testing “.
Finally, what did he think of the 18-inch Pirellis this season?
“It was difficult to read those tires. It was very difficult. They have a very narrow window of operation in qualifying. If you’re a little bit higher or lower, it makes a big difference. It’s difficult in the race, too. I experienced it in the race. Singapore, I five- I got behind a car for six laps and then I burned a set of tires and then it becomes very difficult to follow, so the race is about managing those tires and the gap in front of you.”