Leclerc says new set-up approach has made car stronger

Austrian Grand Prix poleman Charles Leclerc believes a different set-up philosophy has given him a "stronger front" on his Ferrari Formula 1 car than in previous races.

Leclerc says new set-up approach has made car stronger

Ferrari has been searching for more performance with its 2019 challenger, and is exploring new aerodynamic solutions that involve trading some of its straightline speed performance for greater downforce.

Even though it must wait to bring upgrades that can achieve that, Leclerc was able to give Ferrari its third pole of the season by dominating qualifying for the Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring.

Read Also:

Leclerc's pole lap was underpinned by the fastest time in the middle sector, which comprises more corners, compared to the first sector which is the run to Turn 1 and then the long uphill climb to Turn 3.

Asked by Motorsport.com to explain that middle sector performance, Leclerc said: "I think our main issue in the last few grands prix was the front. We didn't have enough front [end].

"I think this weekend it was quite a bit better, we tried quite different set-ups and also set-up philosophy. It doesn't mean a big step up for the other races but for here it worked pretty well.

"I think the most time gained on the second sector is a stronger front compared to the last grands prix."

Leclerc outqualified Hamilton by 0.259s and set two laps good enough for pole position.

He said his improvement in Q3 was down to a further set-up tweak that gave him more performance in the middle part of the lap. "We changed a little bit the car after the first run in Q3," he said.

"I knew it would be a bit of a compromise for the first sector but actually it wasn't that bad and then I improved quite a lot in third sector which is nice to see."

Ferrari's pace in final practice and the second part of qualifying suggested it could have locked out the front row with Sebastian Vettel.

However, the four-time world champion failed to set a time in Q3 after an engine-related problem.

Leclerc said: "I'm very happy for pole position but it's just a shame for Seb as probably the two cars should be closer to first and second. I was informed he had some issues with [Vettel's] car.

"They didn't feel concern on my side. I don't know if they were, maybe they were behind the computers. But they weren't showing it to me."

Despite trading off some straightline speed, Leclerc believes Ferrari has the pace to avenge his heartbreaking Bahrain GP – when he was on course for a first F1 win but suffered an engine issue late on.

"The start is important, there is a long straight after it but normally we are quite good on the straights," said Leclerc. "Hopefully we can keep the position in the first three corners, but the pace itself looks promising."

shares
comments
Verstappen admits Red Bull stronger than expected

Previous article

Verstappen admits Red Bull stronger than expected

Next article

Hamilton: Mercedes "definitely underestimated" Ferrari's pace

Hamilton: Mercedes "definitely underestimated" Ferrari's pace
Load comments
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021