Ferrari: Motorsport Roundup – Drivers Ready For New Season

Charles and the number 16 – In the footsteps of Mike Hawthorn

When Charles Leclerc made his Formula 1 debut, he opted for the number 16 on his car. To tell the truth, this wasn’t his first choice, which would have been number 7, as currently used by Kimi Raikkonen, nor even the second, the number 10, already belonging to Pierre Gasly. However, the Monegasque driver was born on the 16th and, if you want to do the maths, you could see it as 1 + 6, which equals 7.

Previous history. Charles’ move to Scuderia Ferrari sees the return of a number on a Maranello car that had not been used since1966, when Lorenzo Bandini carried it in Monaco for the last time, finishing the Grand Prix in second place.

Debut and a win. Number 16 has only been seen on a Ferrari 22 times in Formula 1. The first occasion was at the 1950 Italian Grand Prix, when Alberto Ascari sported it on his car. The driver who used it the most was Mike Hawthorn, who raced with it five times. The 1958 World Champion is also the only Ferrari driver to have taken the number 16 to the top step of the podium, which he did in the 1953 French Grand Prix.

The others. Several Ferrari drivers have carried the number 15 over the years: Peter Whitehead and Maurice Trintignant, twice each, Giuseppe Farina, Luigi Villoresi, Umberto Maglioli, Alfonso De Portago, Luigi Musso, Wolfgang Von Trips, Cliff Allison, Dan Gurney, Willy Mairesse, Phil Hill and John Surtees just the once.

Alesi, Ilott and Schumacher ready for F2 debut

The Ferrari Driver Academy trio take part in testing prior to the start of the season at the end of March in Bahrain. It all went very well.

The Barcelona circuit has just finished hosting three days of pre-season testing for the FIA Formula 2 championship, which followed on from the first of these sessions, held at the Jerez de la Frontera track. Three Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) students will take part in this year’s championship: Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Giuliano Alesi, all three of them making their first appearance in this category.

Over 2000 km. The overall assessment of these six packed days of testing is a pretty positive one. The drivers got to grips with this new experience, by doing qualifying and race simulations, with each driver completing over 2000 kilometres.

Maximising track time. “We had two productive weeks,” commented Marco Matassa, the FDA’s Technical chief, after supervising the drivers on track. “Callum, Mick and Giuliano all did a great job and, most importantly, made no mistakes, which is vital for a rookie. Every kilometre of testing was precious, given there is no more between now and the start of the season and all our guys made the most of the time they had. The only downside came from the weather in Barcelona, where very low temperatures meant that, on the tyre front, it was impossible to reproduce the conditions we will experience in the races.”

Two weeks to go. The FDA drivers now have a two week break, before the countdown begins for the first race on the calendar, from 29 to 31 March in Bahrain. As with all rounds of this championship, the Sakhir event takes place as part of the Formula 1 weekend at the track.

Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles LeClerc Completes Barcelona Test

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