Sainz and Leclerc to test 2018 Ferrari next week

2021 F1 season

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New Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jnr will be joined by team mate Charles Leclerc when the team tests one of its earlier F1 cars next week, RaceFans understands.

Ferrari was frustrated in its efforts to arrange Sainz’s first run in one of their cars at last year’s post-season test. The event was originally designated for rookies but subsequently opened up to more experienced drivers, providing they did not race in 2020, which meant Sainz did not qualify.

The team will therefore give Sainz his first run on one of their cars at its Fiorano test track on a date to be determined next week.

Formula 1 has cut the amount of official pre-season testing this year from six days to just three. As a result, Sainz and Leclerc will only have a day and a half each in Ferrari’s new SF21 when testing begins at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 12th.

Ferrari is therefore taking advantage of rules which allow teams to run cars which are two or more years old in private tests. The team could have run the more recent SF90, which Leclerc raced in 2019. However the ready availability of a 2018 chassis, which was used for tests last year, prompted the decision to use the older car.

Sainz and Leclerc are expected to spend one day each at the wheel of the SF71H. Leclerc previously drove the car in a test at Mugello last year.

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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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11 comments on “Sainz and Leclerc to test 2018 Ferrari next week”

  1. They could still use the SF90 since 2019 F1 cars are now the most recent eligible for unlimited running outside race weekends and official testing.

    1. Yes they could – that point is made in the article and so expressly is the reason why they are sticking to a 2018 car.

    2. But would it’s engine be legal to run @jerejj ;-) And would getting into the actual 2021 car not be too much of a disappointment after that one?

      1. @bascb I don’t think the engine legality applies to non-official running, although I could be wrong. Everything has to be like they were in the relevant season, and the 2019-spec PU is part of the package.
        @dieterrencken Yes, I noticed that part of the article. My point was more about the reasoning as surely other cars are also ready for use than only the one used most recently for non-racing running. Whichever older car gets used is secondary in the end, though.

        1. Note the ‘However’ and ‘ready’ : However the ready availability of a 2018 chassis, which was used for tests last year, prompted the decision to use the older car.

          It follows that there is no availability of a ‘ready’ 2019 car.

        2. Note the wink in my comment @jerejj.

          Dieter makes it clear in the article that they just had this car at hand without much work needed to get it up and running, so they took this one since this is mostly about getting to know the team, maybe some basic “readjusting” to what kind of procedures for running the car and where some of the nobs are etc, there is not much reason to go for a car that is newer per se, since those would overall stay as they are.

  2. Looks they are testing the new engine then good shakedown event :)

  3. The team will give Sainz his first run on one of their cars on a date to be determined next week.

    Information is everything

  4. I assume that the costs for any private testing counts against the 2021 budget cap doesn’t it.?

    Seems to me that it’s an expense that might be better spent on developing this year’s car rather than running an old car that will not really provide any real data benefit.

    1. Besides the usual “dusting the team off and getting Sainz used to Ferrari ways”, I also believe there must be stronger reasons to spend that money. Tyres are not the same, chassis is not the same, aero is not the same…
      Maybe a new subsystem will be tested? Are teams allowed to do that?
      Some things are hard to duplicate in the dyno, like turn-and-track specific deployment of electrical power. Progressiveness, pedal response to driver input, things like that.

      1. Since they are running the 2018 car as is (i am quite unsure you can actually update such a car) there would hardly be anything they can learn apart from “getting to know eachother” here “only Facts”.

        I doubt it goes against their budget cap @dbradock – this would probably be handled by the “customer car” part of Ferrari. But it might be. Given how little time they will have in testing, I actually think using this to familiarize Sainz with their procedures and how the nobs and menues work in reality for a day might be worth it even if it counts towards the budget cap.

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