Ferrari were back on track on Monday, with Charles Leclerc driving the new 18 inch tyres as Pirelli begin their 2022 preparations. With Formula 1 switching to 18 inch tyres for 2022, Pirelli have been carrying out tyre testing throughout 2020 with mule cars provided by the teams.
All the teams will be given the chance to test on the 18 inch Pirellis this year, provided they are in a position to supply a suitable mule car which has been modified to run the larger diameter wheels.
Ferrari supplied the SF90 from 2019 for such purposes last season, and headed to Jerez in the south of Spain on Monday to begin Pirelli’s 2021 18 inch tyre test programme with Charles Leclerc at the wheel. These tests are not part of the official testing programme for the Formula 1 World Championship, with Pirelli dictating the programme and running specifications for the participating teams. No team can glean an advantage from this tyre testing as all data will be shared by Pirelli with the other teams.
Leclerc logged 110 laps of Jerez, running the 2022 specification intermediate prototype tyre. Ferrari will stay on for another day of testing on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Alpine have granted some extra track time to some of their drivers ahead of 2021. Heading to Paul Ricard in France, the team brought along their Renault R.S.18 in their new Alpine winter livery. Academy Driver Christian Lundgaard completed over 100 laps on Sunday, with Esteban Ocon climbing into the car on Monday to help re-acclimatise himself to an F1 car before pre-season testing.
With official pre-season testing restricted to just three days this season, the teams are making the most of permitted tests like these in order to help their drivers blow off the cobwebs ahead of the crucial track time with the new cars. The official tests begin in Bahrain at the Sakhir Circuit on the 12th of March.
Sound on!@OconEsteban is in full preparation mode as he drives the R.S.18 (in our winter livery) at Circuit Paul Ricard today.
34 days until lights out in Bahrain! pic.twitter.com/iIKjIgOxvp
— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) February 22, 2021