Leclerc conquers the streets of Maranello

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Charles Leclerc drove Ferrari’s 2020 car, the SF1000 on the streets of Maranello on Thursday with which the Monegasque has become the second driver to run a current car.

Since Formula 1 has revealed the first eight races of the delayed and curtailed F1 2020 season, teams have started to return to the race tracks. With the sport set to introduce a strict protocol aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus, teams are keen on practicing the rules they will need to adhere to at the opening grands prix.

As per regulations, teams can run their actual cars on two promotional event days. Ferrari has used up both of those filming days, but outfits are permitted to run their current cars no more than 15km on routes that aren't circuits in use for racing during a season.

Capitalizing on that rule, Ferrari fired up its 2020 car on Thursday with which Charles Leclerc make a short trip on the tight streets of the Scuderia’s headquarter.

Leclerc drove through the gate on entry to the factory, passed the Gestione Sportiva, then the Maranello Museum. The 22-year-old driver ended his special excursion on Via Gilles Villeneuve on his way to Fiorano.

The two-time grand prix winner has not driven his 2020 race office since the final day of the pre-season testing at Barcelona which equals to 110 days. Leclerc said that driving a Formula 1 car has felt as usual despite the long hiatus.

"I don’t normally like getting up early, but this morning there was a great reason to do so. Maybe it woke a few people up, but it was great to drive through the streets of Maranello in the SF1000.”

“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. Now I can’t wait to drive the SF1000 in Austria,” he said.

Ferrari is expected to arrange a private test session with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. As the Scuderia has used up their two filming days, they are believed to use their 2018 car when they carry out the test at Fiorano.