Published On: Sun, Jun 17th, 2018

Leclerc: Jump from F2 to F1 bigger than expected

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Charles Leclerc has admitted that the step he had to make from winning Formula 2 to racing in Formula 1 was bigger than he expected.

The Sauber rookie had a tricky first three races of the 2018 season but turned that around with a change in set-up and move away from the driving style he honed on his way to back-to-back titles in GP3 and F2.

Leclerc, who has since scored points in three of the last four races, said it was “crazy” to have “so many new things in Formula 1 and they are pushing so much into details”.

He believes he has improved more in his seven F1 races than his entire single-seater career.

“Even being in this sport since I was three, I did not expect that jump to be so big,” Leclerc said.

“The amount of procedures, and changes in driving style, just everything, is a whole step forward.

“It was difficult for me at the beginning. Maybe what I would have wished is to understand the car a bit quicker, but two races, let’s say three races, to learn completely the car is not huge.

“If I could have changed something that’s the thing I would have changed.”

Leclerc said he had adapted his approach to race weekends to deal with the greater intensity of F1.

“The weekend overall is very different, a lot more busy with media and everything, but the goal is the same: to do the best job possible in the car,” he said.

“You need to learn how to work with so many people, and for me that was quite difficult in the beginning.

“In F2 you are only speaking to one person, which is your engineer, but here you have so many people that are taking care of smaller areas than you have in F2.

“That takes a little bit of time to get used to.”

Leclerc gained experience of tyre management in GP3 and F2, which uses high-degradation Pirelli tyres, and dealt with pitstops for the first time in F2.

He called F2 “a great preparation” for F1 but admitted the fact it does not involve the sort of hybrid technology that plays a key role in F1 is a negative.

“Tyre management is on the same level in F2, but then you have the energy,” he said.

“[You need to consider] when to use the energy, [while] fighting with other drivers who have a lot of experience.”



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