Wednesday, 19 september 2018, 10:29 , by Matthew Scott
Charles Leclerc is set to get his hands on Ferrari's 2018 car for the first time since being named as Kimi Raikkonen's replacement. The Monegasque prodigy will drive the SF71H at Paul Ricard as part of Pirelli's 2019 tyre testing program this week.
The test no Thursday and Friday is particularly significant for Pirelli as Mercedes will join Ferrari on-track, with Valtteri Bottas behind the wheel for the Silver Arrows.
Sebastian Vettel will also drive for Ferrari, but all eyes will be on his 2019 team-mate, with Leclerc having recently expressed his determination to challenge Vettel for title honours next year.
"We are testing at Paul Ricard for two days," said Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola.
"We are still developing the product for next year. The test is as usual blind for them. We are evaluating a number of constructions, and we are evaluating also some new compounds.
"In terms of construction we are at the end of our development, because October 1 is our deadline to supply the data for the new construction, so it's final validation.
"We tested different constructions during the year, converging towards the final one for next year.
"We still have to test some new ideas and constructions, and obviously from this test we have to define the 2019 tyres. To have the two top teams is important to ensure that the validation is successful."
Pirelli will also conduct tests after the Japanese Grand Prix with Renault and Mexican Grand Prix alongside Sauber before all teams take part in a final run after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.