Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Istanbul Park, 2021

Ferrari “shouldn’t get carried away” after second-fastest time – Leclerc

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Charles Leclerc played down Ferrari’s prospects after setting the second-fastest time in practice on Friday.

In brief

Leclerc downplays Ferrari pace

Leclerc, the only driver other than Lewis Hamilton to lap below a 1’24 in practice yesterday, said he was optimistic about Ferrari’s pace but was eager not to overplay it.

“It’s been looking good, so everything looks positive for now,” said Leclerc. “But again, it’s only Friday.

“So for now I want to keep my head down, keep working as hard as we can to try and and fine-tune the car to to have a perfect quality tomorrow.”

Leclerc said he was comfortable with the car’s balance, unlike many drivers who struggled to find a setup in the afternoon session. “I feel quite happy with that whenever the rear is moving like that, I am quite at ease with it and I like to play with the rear of the car to rotate the car, and it seems to work pretty good for now.

“I mean, we are very competitive, so I wouldn’t change that much on on that side. But I think on the race run, we still have a bit of work to do.”

“We shouldn’t get carried away because I feel like the top teams have have more to show,” he added.

Alonso “happy I was not here last year”

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Istanbul Park, 2021
Alonso found a familiar groove on his return to Istanbul
Fernando Alonso said his first experience of the Istanbul Park circuit in a decade felt much like it did before. The work to pressure-wash its surface, which gave very little grip when F1 returned to the track last year before his comeback, had paid off.

“I think it was as I remember in the past,” Alonso said. “So I’m happy that I was not here last year because apparently it was very different and the lap time is very different as well. But today was a much more normal feeling.”

Ricciardo sees little difference between tyre compounds

Daniel Ricciardo was surprised the soft tyres did not yield significantly quicker lap times in practice. “The tyres, they’ve brought different compounds here this year, a step softer, and there wasn’t a whole lot of difference between the three we felt, at least today,” he said.

“So that was maybe a bit of a surprise, I thought the soft would have been miles quicker, I don’t think that was the case. What that means for tomorrow, I’m not sure. So we’ll do our homework tonight.”

But the McLaren driver, who set the 14th quickest time, isn’t concerned about his place in the order.

“I didn’t put the lap together but I’m actually pretty relaxed,” said Ricciardo. “I think where we know where we are, I think we’re definitely… I wouldn’t say we’re there but we’re thereabouts. A bit of fine-tuning tonight.”

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Comment of the day

Comments from team principals on plans for a 23-race F1 calendar in 2022 do not reflect the reality of F1 crews’ work, says Craig Johnston.

Let me give you the real information. There are no days off between races at home between events unless a singe event. How do you think we can travel from country to country say a back to back or triple header and fly home in between?

The managers and bosses arrive at a track on a Thursday they then leave Sunday night on the private jets. The team workers on the other hand arrive at a track to set up from Mon/Tues then on a Sunday-post race spend an extra eight hours packing the equipment to be flown to the next event. The staff then fly on the Monday to the next country to do it all over again.

When would staff get time off, for example, between Brazil to Mexico to Qatar? Each flight is between 10-14 hours, not to mention time zones to then start again. A lot of the comments on this are made by people without knowledge of the inner workings.

For those saying get another job, how about when you have worked 15 years in the industry and these new schedules are becoming the norm. The staff were told they would never do a triple header again but was required the first year of Covid, now its the norm.

The families and children at home don’t get to see their parents due to them needing to do as told by the bosses. Rotation of staff can only include a small number of personnel and that doesn’t work for all teams. We are pawns in a game of money-making for an elite few.
Craig Johnston

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On this day in motorsport

Bobby Unser, Penske, Indianapolis, 1981
It took 138 days to confirm Bobby Unser as the winner of the 1981 Indianapolis 500
  • 40 years ago today Bobby Unser was finally declared the win of the Indianapolis 500 which was held in May. A one-lap penalty originally handed to the on-the-road victor, which temporarily resulted in Mario Andretti taking his second win in the race, was overturned.

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 16 comments on “Ferrari “shouldn’t get carried away” after second-fastest time – Leclerc”

    1. I don’t trust Ocon after crossing the line in Brazil. He happened to go for a practice start on pole, and stop there, and stop the red bull from having their practice start. Bad luck it seems.

      1. @peartree Brazil doesn’t have practice starts on the grid.

    2. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
      9th October 2021, 3:36

      re: Turkey being a more regular fixture in the F1 calendar… I know some GP organisers are very greedy, politically disinclined to share or are sufficiently financed to afford annual races, but I think a rotation of GPs is an easy win in terms of reducing spectator fatigue by having it every 2nd/3rd year, creates interest for the TV viewer as it’ll be a new track for a new fan and teams won’t be have last year’s data, they’ll have to use 2/3 year old data (which may be rendered useless by technical and sporting developments since).

      1. @imabouttogoham Unfortunately rotating Grands Prix proved very expensive for the organisers, which is why it failed in Germany (it was a contributing factor to the Nurburgring going bankrupt, along with a developer trying to turn it into a broader venue than just motorsport).

    3. Empathise with the COTD.

      I think it’s about time F1 teams and crews have their own unions so that they can have a formal representation in front of the teams, FIA, Liberty and reach a compromise on this calendar length issue. Even if the calendar length stays what is is, at the very least, the union will ensure that the team personnel are compensated well for the additional races.

      1. I think it’s about time F1 teams and crews have their own unions so that they can have a formal representation in front of the teams,

        Most teams are based in Europe and big enough for the employees to set up a works council and health&safety committee.

        Unions have proven too often to be just another layer of power abuse.

        1. jff, most of the teams are based in the UK, where if an employer chooses not to recognise a union, the union has virtually no power over that employer (it can’t even impose that negotiations over any issue begin). This effectively means all the union can do is propose voting to strike or “taking measures short of strike”. Employers who don’t recognise unions find this very easy to subvert because although they cannot take direct action against employees who strike on the basis of not liking a team’s conduct, it is legal to give preferential treatment on any non-protected basis – easy to do when there are three types of lies and statistics are one of them…

          In fact, it’s even worse in this specific case, because in the UK, third-party union action is illegal. So none of the union action is allowed to directly affect Liberty or the FIA, nor can it be done with that intention. Only actions whose intended consequences are limited to the team(s) that are in breach of union standards are permitted. Since Liberty and the FIA have an effective, EU- and UK-sanctioned monopoly in their segment of motorsport, the teams would be entitled to respond by removing the employees who weren’t willing to do any work due to an objection caused by a third party.

          1. What are the powers of employee/works councils and health & safety committees?
            As far as I understand the workers have a right to have a say through those committees.

        2. @jff All teams are in Europe.

    4. COTD is 100% spot-on – I couldn’t have put things better. Staff rotation indeed is only possible to a limited extent, although not everyone has a family. Generally, yes, everything has a limit.

      1. I forgot: Also, on this day: 2011 & 2016 Japanese GPs.

    5. CotD is a typical selfish first-world whinge from someone who doesn’t want to give up the good thing they’ve got hold of.
      Many industries require long hours and demanding work schedules – and all employees sign up to such conditions in their individual employment contracts – but if the job and conditions aren’t for you anymore then you need to do something else. You can’t expect your entire industry to shut down just because your employer has poor HR management skills.

      Perhaps F1 team crew members would accept a pay cut so the team can increase their staffing levels to implement more rotation? Nah, of course not….

      1. Of course, just accept worsening working conditions quietly as there will always be someone ready to do your job for less money anyways.

      2. S, you do realise that the working conditions described are illegal to impose on most people in the countries where F1 teams are from? It’s compulsory to have at least 2 days a fortnight off for anyone not in very limited circumstances. (It just happens that international travel involving multiple countries per fortnight is one of the exemptions). It’s also compulsory not to impose more than 13 hours of work a day for anyone not in very limited circumstances. (International travel involving multiple countries happens to be one of the exemptions). Even people on oil rigs (a different exemption to both of those rules) are 3 weeks on, 2 weeks off. Compare that to F1’s 3 weeks on, 1 week off that is being imposed on two consecutive occasions in the next 8 weeks (and on multiple occasions in the 2022 calendar), and you should understand that conditions are unacceptable.

        Are you also aware that F1 bans more than 10 staff rotations per year for the travelling team, making it impossible to have the full staff rotation you request?

        No amount of pay cut helps with the issue of not getting enough time to recharge. Biology does not care about wage packets. These conditions will (not merely might) lead to major health problems and increased problems simply doing the demanded workload, for anyone who attempts them. If you want F1 to continue to exist in the long term, then you need to be asking for a more sensible workload to be permitted.

        1. S, you do realise that the working conditions described are illegal to impose on most people in the countries where F1 teams are from?

          It may well be – but that’s not the fault of Liberty, the FIA or the number of events that F1 schedule. The teams employ their staff, and as such they are responsible for managing that human resource.
          No point blaming the number of races, as it isn’t compulsory for any individual person to attend all of them. Except, perhaps, in individual team employer/employee employment contracts – but that’s beyond the control of FOM.

          Are you also aware that F1 bans more than 10 staff rotations per year for the travelling team, making it impossible to have the full staff rotation you request?

          First I’ve ever heard of that one, mate. To be honest, that sounds more illegal than the above – but then, privately agreed and signed contracts can be very powerful. Is this officially published anywhere? I’d love to see it.
          Regardless – given that the teams are accepting all the conditions in their F1 entry/participation contracts, again that falls to the teams and their own internal HR management. Don’t send people to races who aren’t in it for the long haul, and reallocate/replace them if they were, but are no longer, suitable.

          No amount of pay cut helps with the issue of not getting enough time to recharge.

          Of course, but it’s not money per individual that I’m talking about – it’s about spreading the same amount of money over more (human) resources. If your 10 rotation limit is true, then the teams really need to clarify (improve) that aspect of their contracts with F1. They should be increasing this rotation limit – not reducing events.
          Having fewer races or re-organising the calendar is a separate issue altogether, and doesn’t solve the actual problem at all.
          It’d be like DRS ‘fixing’ poor racing/following ability… It doesn’t – because it isn’t addressing the actual problem, but merely a symptom of the it.
          If people are working too much, then allow them to work less and rotate with others. Reducing events merely reduces income, which the teams need to employ those people in the first place.

      3. @S ”Many industries require long hours and demanding work schedules”
        Those industries don’t feature travelling across different continents (or travel in general) like F1, so apples to oranges comparison.

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