Charles Leclerc says he has prepared extensively for the 2021 season, spending more time at Ferrari than ever before and focusing on areas he needs to improve, like tyre management.
Leclerc's winter break was disrupted by a bout of COVID-19 contracted in Dubai that forced the Monegasque into isolation in January.
But upon his recovery, Leclerc headed straight to Maranello for meetings with his team and testing at Fiorano on-board one of the Italian outfit's 2018-spec cars.
The two-time Grand Prix winner endured a difficult 2020 campaign, finishing just eighth in the Drivers' standings, a mediocre result that spoke to the dismal level of performance of the Scuderia's SF1000 and certainly not to Leclerc's abilities.
Yet the 23-year-old has focused over the winter on improving a few key areas of his skills, and especially tyre management.
"I think I’ve never been at Ferrari as much as this season before the actual start of the season," Leclerc said, quoted by Motorsport.com.
"We’ve also been doing quite a bit of tests with the old car, so I feel very ready. I’ve been working in a similar way as I’ve done in the past, trying to understand what were my weaknesses last year.
“I still believe that tyre management is something I shall push. I’ve improved massively last year, and I hope that will be another step this year.
"That’s what I’ve done basically, trying to look at past races, trying to understand what could we have done better as a team, as myself, in the car, and yeah, try to improve on [tyre management] especially."
In addition to his track day with Ferrari in January, Leclerc was also assigned to Pirelli's recent 18-inch tyre test, driving a 2019 mule car supplied by the Scuderia.
The mileage allowed him to gauge his fitness ahead of the start of the 2021 season and give himself a clean bill of health void of any after-effects from his COVID-19 infection.
"I’ve recovered completely," Leclerc said. "It didn’t hit me that bad, luckily, so I feel completely fine.
"I’ve done some physical tests just after COVID to be sure that everything came back to normal, and it’s the case. So all good on that."