On the second of three days of testing at Fiorano, race drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were at the wheel of the SF71H. Shortly after 9.30 in the morning, the Spaniard drove out of the garage in far from ideal conditions, with the temperature at 3 degrees and damp patches on the track. He completed 59 laps, equivalent to around 176 kilometres, getting back in the swing of driving a Formula 1 car and working with the team again. “Exactly one year ago, I drove a Ferrari for the first time,” recalled Carlos, once he’d finished driving. “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.”
Restart. The Spaniard also explained the purpose of this type of test prior to the start of the season. “At the moment, like all the other drivers in fact, we are working in the simulator or training really hard in the gym. 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.”
Charles in the afternoon. At 2pm, straight after lunch, Charles Leclerc was behind the wheel of the SF71H. On the eve of his fourth season with the Scuderia, in the cockpit 44 days on from the post-season test in Abu Dhabi, he covered 48 laps, equivalent to 143 kilometres. Charles also got a very enthusiastic reception from the fans when he went to greet them. “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!”
Keen to get going. Leclerc then spoke about driving the car again. “After a month and a half without sitting in the cockpit, I was really keen to drive again. 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.”
Shwartzman back tomorrow. Test driver Robert Shwartzman will be back at the wheel of the SF71H tomorrow for the third and final day of testing at Fiorano, having driven 44 laps on Wednesday, the first day.