Formula 1 2020: Charles Leclerc drives his Ferrari F1 car from factory to test track in Maranello
The low-speed run, which ended at the Fiorano test track without Ferrari's Leclerc completing any laps, came 110 days after the SF1000 car last turned a wheel at testing in Spain at the end of February.
Charles Leclerc drove his Ferrari Formula One car through the streets of Maranello on Thursday as the Italian team fired up for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic halted track activity in March.
Ferrari said the 22-year-old Monegasque was the first driver of the modern era to have driven an F1 car through their hometown.
The low-speed run, which ended at the Fiorano test track without Leclerc completing any laps, came 110 days after the SF1000 car last turned a wheel at testing in Spain at the end of February.
“I don’t normally like getting up early, but this morning there was a great reason to do so,” commented Leclerc, who recognised his raucous run may have woken up some of the citizens.
“It was exciting to get back in the car today, particularly on such a special route. Being back in the cockpit felt like coming home again.
“It seemed like a fun way of saying we are ready to get back on track.”
The rescheduled season is due to start in Austria with two races on 5 and 12 July, both without spectators and under carefully controlled conditions.
. @Charles_Leclerc driving the SF1000 in Maranello today 🔥
— Charles Leclerc Fan Page (@LeclercNews) June 18, 2020
Leclerc’s early morning route took him from the factory gates, through which late team founder Enzo Ferrari drove the first car bearing his name in 1947, and across Via Abetone Inferiore.
He then drove past the Ferrari museum and down Via Gilles Villeneuve, named after the team’s late Canadian great, to Fiorano.
The AlphaTauri driver was .24 seconds quicker than Red Bull driver Sergio Perez and .6 clear of Perez's teammate Max Verstappen on the 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) Istanbul Park circuit.
With six of the 21 rounds to race, Max Verstappen of Red Bull has retaken the lead in the drivers' championship by six points over reigning champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Max Verstappen finished second to take a six-point lead in the driver's championship.