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Charles Leclerc back in new Ferrari for F1 drive on Maranello streets

Leclerc drives SF1000 through Ferrari's home town as the Scuderia prepare for the new F1 season on July 5

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Watch Charles Leclerc drive Ferrari's 2020 car out of the famous gates of their Maranello factory and on to the town's streets

Ferrari stepped up their preparations for the Formula 1 season in style on Thursday as Charles Leclerc drove the team's 2020 championship challenger on the iconic Maranello streets.

Leclerc was back in the cockpit of the SF1000, which the Scuderia will be racing in Austria in just over two weeks, for the first time since pre-season testing in February as he made his way from their famous factory, past the museum, to the Fiorano test track.

"I don't normally like getting up early, but this morning there was a great reason to do so," said Leclerc, who became the first driver 'of the modern era' to drive an F1 car through Ferrari's home town.

"Maybe it woke a few people up, but it was great to drive through the streets of Maranello in the SF1000."

Ferrari said the outing was to mark the approaching F1 campaign, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Although Leclerc did not complete any high-speed running, Ferrari are the second team to dust the cobwebs off their 2020 car in recent days after Racing Point's Silverstone test, while Mercedes and Renault have both been back on track in older cars.

"It was exciting to get back in the car today, particularly on such a special route," added Leclerc. "Being back in the cockpit felt like coming home again.

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"It seemed like a fun way of saying we are ready to get back on track. Now I can't wait to drive the SF1000 in Austria."

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Sky F1's Karun Chandhok says Ferrari are on the 'back foot' ahead of the 2020 Formula 1 season, with Mercedes and Red Bull pulling ahead with their new cars

Ferrari have been Mercedes' main challengers for the F1 titles in each of the last three seasons, and are looking to end a lengthy championship drought this year.

Sebastian Vettel is partnering Leclerc before leaving the team at the end of 2020.

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