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Leclerc facing 'difficult return' to 'special' Spa

Leclerc facing 'difficult return' to 'special' Spa

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Leclerc facing 'difficult return' to 'special' Spa

Leclerc facing 'difficult return' to 'special' Spa

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc believes returning to Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix will be "difficult" a year on from the death of good friend Anthoine Hubert.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly has also expressed his thoughts that the next few days will not be easy as he, too, will be remembering Hubert after his fellow Frenchman was killed in the feature F2 race at the circuit last season.

For Leclerc, there are particularly conflicting emotions as it was at last year's race in Belgium that he secured his maiden F1 win.

Addressing the forthcoming weekend, Leclerc said: "The Spa-Francorchamps circuit has a special place in my heart.

"While it is here that I took my first win, it is also where we lost our friend Anthoine last year. It will be difficult to return to this track and he will be in our thoughts all weekend."

On track, it promises to be a potentially tough weekend for Leclerc and the Scuderia as Spa is a power-sensitive circuit, an area where the SF1000 has been found wanting this season.

Leclerc recognises he is highly unlikely to emulate his achievement of a year ago, even though this season he has pulled out results beyond the car's capabilities.

"In terms of expectations, it will be tougher for us in terms of performance this time around as we do not have the same level of competitiveness as we did in 2019," added Leclerc. "However, we have seen that anything can happen at this track, especially with the unpredictable weather.

"As a team, we will have to work very hard to do all we can to get the most out of the car right from Friday. In free practice, we must gather all the information needed to pick the best strategy for qualifying and especially for the race."

Ferrari's head of power unit Enrico Gualtieri has confirmed the issue with the electronic control unit that led to Leclerc's retirement at the last race has since been identified.

Heading into Belgium, it is now a question of dragging every last ounce of performance out of the PU for what is a challenging circuit.

Gualtieri said: "In terms of power unit management, the track is pretty demanding with over a minute spent at full throttle. It’s important therefore to have enough power – you can never have too much.

"But you also want good driveability, especially when it comes to the first and last corners. Apart from its power output, energy recovery through the MGU-H is also key, so that the overall efficiency of the Power Unit is what counts.

"We must optimise the car-PU package, work well in the garage, define the best strategy and be efficient when it comes to reacting to changing conditions. Every thousandth of a second counts, every decision can make the difference."

Before you go...

Magnussen "feels worse" for race staff as third triple-header looms

McLaren "realistic" in "difficult" constructors' fight with Racing Point

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