The first race of the 2021 season takes place on Sunday and Bahrain offered up some very hot weather for the arrival of the Formula 1 circus. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz came to the track late morning to start preparations for the Sakhir weekend along with their engineers. The day ended with the usual track walk under floodlights, but before then the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers met the press in the usual Thursday press conference.
Keen to get out on track. Charles was the first to speak, asked how prepared he felt for the new season. “We are as well prepared as possible. During the only pre-season test we were one of the teams that completed the most laps and the car behaved as we expected. However, now it’s time to find out the real pecking order, starting on Saturday.” Leclerc reckons the SF21 is better than the SF1000 on which it is based in several respects: “in terms of balance and its behaviour in the corners for example,” he affirmed. “I’d say it’s also a bit easier to drive. These are positive signs, but it’s difficult to judge at the moment.”
Can’t wait. Carlos Sainz is also keen to jump in the car. “Ever since I joined, I understood that Ferrari is something special and different from all the other teams,” reckoned the Spaniard. “I want to enjoy this journey to the maximum, as it’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was ten years old.” Carlos has often said he would have liked to have had a few more days testing to get to grips with the SF21. “I am sure I can do a good job. I have worked to be as well prepared as possible for the start of the season, maximising the time I had on track in the new car, working hard with the engineers in analysing the data and also doing a fair bit of driving in the simulator.” The Spaniard then added, “moving from one team to another is no small matter in terms of the procedures and how the car behaves on track. It is actually incredible how very different cars end up setting very similar lap times. It will probably not be that easy to push the car to its full potential in the first race, but it’s also a question of feeling. That’s why I can’t wait to get out on track.”
Programme. There are two free practice sessions tomorrow, both lasting 60 minutes, at 14.30 and 18 local (12.30 and 16 CET). On Saturday, qualifying takes place at 18 (16 CET) preceded by the final hour of practice at 15 (13 CET). The Grand Prix starts at 18 (17 CET) on Sunday.