Leclerc needed ‘physical impression of speed’

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc 2020 pa

Charles Leclerc eliminated in Q2 Styrian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc may have spent much of his extended break in a sim but admits he was in need of the “physical impression of speed”.

The Ferrari driver has entertained fans with his antics online in the virtual world, taking part in F1’s Virtual Grand Prix series, even winning a few.

However that is not the same as racing out on track.

There is no speed, no G-forces and mistakes count for very little, if anything at all.

Leclerc got to experience most of the above, although not the mistakes part, when he tested a 2018-spec SF71H car at Mugello.

Rather than run their 2020 car for a limited 100km, Ferrari opted to give both Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel time in an old car meaning they could cover as many laps as they wanted.

Leclerc thoroughly enjoyed his time on the track.

“How great was that, getting back on track for real,” he said.

“I’d missed it!

“Even though I’ve been pretty busy with virtual racing during this long break, I needed to once again get that physical impression of speed.

“Being able to drive on such a spectacular track as Mugello, for the first time at the wheel of a Formula 1 car, helped to make this day even more memorable.

“Now, we’re looking ahead to the season and as from next week, things get serious!”

The 2020 season begins at the Red Bull Ring on July 5 with the Austrian Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s decision to test at its Mugello circuit could also pay off later in the season with reports claiming the Italian track could be the venue for round nine of this year’s championship.

To date Formula 1 has only confirmed the first eight races with Mugello tipped to be number nine.

That would mean Ferrari could compete in its 1000th grand prix on home soil.

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