Even deprived of F1, Charles Leclerc does not lose the taste for victory: confined to Monaco, the Ferrari driver aligns the successes in virtual races, the opportunity for him to “maintain his reflexes” but also to give free rein to his “real” personality.
Q: What type of confined are you?
A: “From those who have set goals. On the sporting side, come out much stronger than before because I have a lot of time to train. We also try to help as much as possible, as with the championship (virtual charity) that we organized between pilots, or here in Monaco. ”
Q What do you miss the most?
A: “Race in F1 … And seeing people, I think. I can’t wait for the season to start but I won’t hurry until it’s completely safe.”
Q: You have replaced the real races with the virtual one. Why ?
A: “The ‘sim racing’ helps me to remember that I am here to run and that I am waiting to get back in the car. The feeling is not the same but it does helps maintain my reflexes. This is the closest I can find. ”
Q: Is it for fun or to win?
A: “Even if it’s a game, we pilots want to be competitive in everything we do. That’s also what’s fun! It’s a lot of training. I don’t have the game for a long time but I probably play five hours a day.
Q: We can also see you running live on the Twitch eSports platform …
A: “It’s something that I couldn’t see myself doing and enjoying but I really like it! For the people who follow me, it’s as close as they can get to the ‘real’ me. In F1, with pressure, it’s more complicated. ”
Q: When and how do you hope to take back the Grands Prix?
A: “It’s hard to predict because things change quickly. I expect to start somewhere in Europe (during the summer) but when? I don’t know. Twelve or thirteen races seem to me the minimum, but less is always better than nothing. (In camera) it would not be like a normal race, where you see, feel and hear the spectators, which motivates you. But it is better than nothing if we can start like that safely for everyone.”
Q: Would a shortened championship be good or bad for Ferrari?
A: “I don’t think this situation changes the balance of power much. We are not favorites and we know that. Even with eight races, it will be difficult to beat Mercedes and Lewis (Hamilton), but perhaps that we will take more risks with the strategy or in the overtaking. It may pay off. ”
Q: With a denser calendar, will improving your car during the season also be more difficult?
A: “Last year, we had good progress. We must continue to work as we did and I am pretty sure the results will come. But it will be difficult for everyone because we will not have break to develop the car. The track work will be even more important. We will have to be ready from the first race to give good feedback to our team to immediately go in the right direction. ”
Q: Do several races on the same circuit during the same weekend, what do you think?
A: “We have to consider this possibility to have as many races as possible. I saw somewhere that we could also take some circuits backwards, that would be cool! We would rediscover them and the most experienced drivers would be one little less advantaged. ”
Q: And organize up to three GPs in three weeks?
A: “I train more than ever so I think I’m ready. It will be difficult to leave for so long, but this period involves specific decisions. We have to prepare for that.”
Q: Do you fear a white season?
A: “I think anything is possible. We are a little spectator, we have to prepare for everything and wait. Everyone’s safety must take precedence, so we will wait.”
Q: How do you see the recovery?
A: “It will not be easy but I am really looking forward to it! It is the first time that we have not driven for so long and we will start immediately with free practice, qualifying and racing. Maybe it will change things a bit to adapt after so long out of the car … ”
Q: What would be the difficulties?
A: “Put yourself in your bubble before entering the car, when you do not do it for a long time, it is not easy to find. I try to practice this every week, even if it is to cook pasta afterwards! ”