Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is preparing for the 2022 cars to be “big time different” to drive this season.
With the 2021 season officially in the books and the new year welcomed in, all attentions are now on the 2022 campaign which come with widespread regulations changes that, in time, will hopefully bring the Formula 1 field even closer together and promote more natural and frequent wheel-to-wheel racing.
Also new on the horizon and coinciding with the regulations changes are Pirelli’s 18-inch compounds, which are replacing the 13-inch variety.
After the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, Leclerc stuck around to rack up more precious laps in post-season testing to experience the new Pirelli compounds.
“It’s quite a bit different. This one is basically adapted to fit those bigger tyres on, but apart from that it’s the 2019 car,” Leclerc said after completing 87 laps in a Ferrari mule car in post-season testing at Abu Dhabi.
“So it’s going to be big time different, but I think we’ll only know once we put the real 2022 car on track and do the correlation from the simulator to reality.
The new Pirelli tyres also feature smaller sidewalls compared to its predecessor and Leclerc also thinks that will provide even more challenges for the drivers in the new, upcoming season.
He added: “It makes it quite tricky. It’s challenging for us drivers, and I think it will be more challenging next year to drive those cars.
“Overall, it probably has a bit of a bigger window to work; especially in cold conditions, it feels quite good.
“But it’s also quite tricky when you lose the car in the high-speed [corners] especially.”
Leclerc’s comments are in line with the thoughts of McLaren driver Lando Norris, who also thinks drivers are going to have to adapt their driving styles to get the best performance from their 2022 challengers.
Not everyone is of the same opinion, though, with new Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas not experiencing too much difference between the 2021 and 2022 cars when testing in both the Mercedes and Alfa Romeo simulator.
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