Scuderia Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc says the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a benchmark that can decide whether the car will be competitive for the rest of the season.
Ferrari are looking to bounce back after rivals Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport captured four wins out of four rounds in the 2019 Formula 1 Season. The team will arrive into the Spanish Grand Prix with an engine upgrade in a bid to improve performance, an upgrade brought forward having originally be planned for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Leclerc will be hoping the engine boost will help his bid to claim his first win F1, having come so close at the Bahrain Grand Prix, when the Monegasque driver led for majority of the race until an injection system failed and prevented the engine delivering full power.
At the last round in Azerbaijan, Leclerc was on course to be the favourite for pole position until a crash during the second session of qualifying put him on the backfoot. He clawed his way back in the the race to fifth place, having a steller performance that earned him ‘Driver of the Day’.
F1 heads to Spain at the Barcelona circuit, the venue for the Spanish Grand Prix and where winter testing took place earlier in the year. Leclerc and Ferrari produced strong pace during pre-season testing, putting them as early favourites for the title before the season commenced.
The twenty-one year old had a practical and positive pre-season test in his first year with Ferrari and was one of the quickest and consistent drivers out on the track during the winter period in Barcelona.
With teams set to bring upgrades for the weekend’s action in Barcelona, Leclerc has noted that the circuit is an important benchmark for the season, believing if they have a car that is competitive, they are in for a competitive season.
“This is probably the track where it’s hardest for the driver to make a difference,” said Leclerc.
“The reason is simple: each one of us knows it by heart, right down to the smallest detail, as it’s home to the majority of tests.
“I have good memories from February’s testing, even if the conditions were very different back then, with very low air and track temperatures.
“All the same, the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit is a benchmark, because if you go well here, you know you have a car that will be very competitive for the rest of the season.
“I can’t wait to get into the cockpit of my SF90, but then, that’s not exactly news!”