Charles Leclerc found F1 'intimidating' during early races

Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc says he initially found the step to Formula 1 “intimidating” due to the amount of people with which he had to communicate.

Leclerc stepped up to Formula 1 with Sauber having taken back-to-back titles in the GP3 Series and Formula 2 championship, where team sizes are relatively small.

Leclerc finished the campaign with 39 points and a move to Ferrari for 2019 having been wrapped up, but says he found the early stages of the season a challenge.

“Most of it comes from just getting used to this paddock, to the things we need to do around driving that I didn’t expect at the beginning of the year,” he explained of his progress.

“And all these things are small details but make quite a big difference.

“I’ve learned to work with quite a lot more people, before [in junior series] you speak only to your engineer and that’s it, all these things have changed me quite a bit. 

“At the beginning first of all it’s quite intimidating to speak to so many people because you know that everything you are going to say is going to be analysed not only by engineers but by so many people.

“Then you get used to it, then also the type of feedback you give… you can be a lot more precise with everything you say because there’s a lot more people in the background.

“In Formula 2 you try and focus on the main points [of giving feedback] as there’s only one or two [people] maximum focusing to get the car better, it’s a different approach and it takes a bit of time to get used to it.”

Leclerc struggled through the opening three events – making mistakes in qualifying and race trim – but credits learning from those setbacks as crucial to his development thereafter.

“Definitely the first three races I learned massively,” he said.

“I worked extremely hard in the first three races just to understand and identify my weaknesses, what were the things that were just not going right.

“And after these first three races we finally understood with the team and made a big step forward and since then we were quite strong actually.”