Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Albert Park, 2018

Leclerc: First F1 races felt “extremely long” after F2

2019 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc says he was surprised by how much longer Formula 1 races felt when he made his debut last year after stepping up from Formula 2.

F2 races typically run to a maximum duration of little more than an hour, but F1 races can take twice as long.

Leclerc has joined Ferrari for his second season in F1. He was asked how his successor as F2 champion, George Russell, would find life in the sport’s top tier.

“It is quite different in terms of tyre management I think it’s a lot more extreme in Formula 2 than in Formula 1, actually,” said Leclerc. “In terms of fuel management obviously we don’t have any in Formula 2, we do have in Formula 1 so it’s a bit different.

“But I remember finding the first races extremely long in Formula 1 compared to Formula 2. So this is something also that he needs to get used to because after 20 laps you think that the finish is two laps away and then they tell you ‘OK, 40 laps to go’. That’s quite long!

“Apart from that it’s just a bit different but not such a huge difference.”

George Russell, Williams, Interlagos, 2018
Leclerc praised “very strong” Russell
Russell matched Leclerc’s achievement of winning seven races on his way to the F2 title. But Leclerc his rival’s strong F2 performance didn’t mean he might not have problems adjusting to life in the top flight.

“I think he is a very strong driver,” said Leclerc. “Obviously I don’t know whether he will struggle as much as I did in the first three races or not. I don’t have much tips to give him, for sure he will find his way along to the top.”

“In the first three races we were not so competitive so after 20 laps, we were alone in 19th position,” Leclerc added, “and then it gets quite boring because you are just waiting for the end of the race.

“So maybe this played a part in thinking that the race was too long. But after that it was actually more interesting.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Leclerc: First F1 races felt “extremely long” after F2”

  1. I’m going to stick my neck out and do it based on almost no knowledge of how Lando and Russell drive but if Ron Dennis is right in the St. Enna documentary and ‘what you are looking for is an intellect’ then from the bit I’ve seen Russell will adapt more quickly than the perhaps more charismatic, in at least name, Lando ‘Chuck’ Norris.

    As for Leclerc’s comments about F2 being more full on. Makes you want to scream

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      25th January 2019, 10:30

      Bertrand Russell and Chuck Norris. That’s a good one

      1. LOL Not sure he’d appreciate Bertrand !

        ‘Jack’ maybe

  2. Maybe this is an unkind thought, but it sounds to me like Charles didn’t do full length race simulations in the simulator. If he had then he’d have known exactly how long the races were.

    1. The impression of how much time is passing is different in a simulator than in real life, maybe is either because of the adrenalin of being inside a real race car or because real racing is more physical demanding making you focus more on what your doing inside the car.

    2. Teams’ simulators are generally never used for practice reasons, more for changing setup and testing the effects of new aerodynamic developments which can be correlated with on track performance.

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