F1 Testing: Charles Leclerc explains Ferrari change of approach in 2020
Leclerc says Ferrari not focused on performance at start of testing
By Matt Morlidge in Barcelona
Last Updated: 20/02/20 9:17am
Charles Leclerc says Ferrari have yet to post any headline times at F1 Testing because they have changed their approach from last year - in a bid to avoid another slow start to the season.
Leclerc completed 131 laps on his first day in Ferrari's new SF1000, but finished it only 11th on the timesheets and more than a second down on Mercedes pace-setter Lewis Hamilton.
That modest start was a far cry to last year when Ferrari flew out of the blocks on Day One, completing more laps than anyone and setting a blistering pace over the next week in Barcelona to instil themselves as early 2019 favourites.
But after Ferrari then faltered at the start of that season - failing to win a race until after the summer break - Leclerc says the team are taking a "step by step" approach to this year's winter testing.
"We changed a little bit our approach compared to last year," said the Monegasque. "Last year, the testing felt great but then the first race was a bit less great.
"I think we've learnt a few things from this and this year we decided to focus more on ourselves, try to learn the car as much as possible in this first few days and then focus on performance a bit later on and then see if that pays off."
While other drivers on Day One hailed the progress of their new cars - set to be F1's fastest ever - Leclerc said Ferrari's new focus meant it was impossible to be sure that the SF1000 is a step forward.
"We didn't focus on performance but more about trying to know the car at its best," he added.
"Right now it's difficult to say but there's been a lot of work so it can only be an evolution."
Leclerc's assertion was backed up on the timesheet and through the speed traps, with a Ferrari team that were quicker than any other on the straights last year the slowest in that regard on Day One in 2020.
Leclerc, who finished fourth in the championship last year, is completing the morning session of Day Two before handing over to Sebastian Vettel after lunch with the German having recovered from his illness.