Le Castellet – Activities got underway today for Scuderia Ferrari, in preparation for the French Grand Prix. The engineers began planning the schedule for Friday’s free practice sessions and went along with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel on the usual track inspection, walking round the 5.842 kilometre-long Paul Ricard track.
With the media. Both drivers had their usual press meeting in the afternoon. Sebastian Vettel said he was very happy to be getting back behind the wheel: “We have a few new parts on the car, trying a few things,” said the German. “Tomorrow will be very important for us. The track is not exactly the same as last year as some sections have been resurfaced and this circuit has a bit of everything. We hope the data we get tomorrow will show that we can make a step forward in the areas that, so far, have been our weak points. We know our car is very competitive in terms of straight line performance, but we lack a bit of grip in the corners, so we lose or gain time depending on which track we are at. Here we have a good mix of both elements, including some corners that could potentially be difficult for us, but we have some updates that should see us make a step forward.”
On the attack. Next to face the media in the Scuderia Ferrari motorhome was Charles Leclerc. Yesterday, in Bandol, a town close to the circuit, he took part in a charity football match, in memory of Jules Bianchi. The Monegasque driver said he was ready to push really hard to do well on this track, which is but 200 kilometres from his home in Monte Carlo. “Everyone thinks I know this track well because it’s very close to where I live, but to tell the truth, last year was my first time racing here,” he explained. “However, the kart track where I first raced is in Brignoles, which is very near here, so I’m happy to be here.” As for his expectations for this weekend, like all the drivers, Leclerc said he was aiming for a top result. “I’d like to take pole, but if that’s not possible, you can be sure I will be trying my utmost to get the very best result I can on Saturday. The same applies on Sunday, but before that, we need to think about free practice when we will try and understand how to maximise the potential of our package.”
Programme. The first two free practice sessions for the French Grand Prix take place tomorrow at 11 and at 3pm. On Saturday, the final hour of preparation prior to qualifying is at noon, while the pursuit of pole begins at 3 in the afternoon. The 60th French Grand Prix gets underway at 15.10 on Sunday.