As we can see from Giorgio Piola’s illustration above, he’s starting to take care of the details. The steering wheel on his car now features a thimble-like socket that supports his index and middle finger to give more feel when operating the clutch.
It’s by no means a new feature, with many drivers sporting such customizations on their steering wheels, but certainly an indication that he’s taking care of the smaller details in order to maximise his own performance. These kind of changes can become a tale of never-ending micromanagement, but with the rules surrounding race starts and clutch deployment under ever more scrutiny by the FIA, it’s an area of the driver's craft that he must get right.
The socket that’s been in use during testing has been produced via rapid prototyping, with numerous iterations almost certainly available to Leclerc in order that he finds the most effectively solution before the lights go out in Melbourne.
Take a look below at some other tailored Ferrari solutions in this area over recent years…
Charles Leclerc's steering wheel, Ferrari SF90
Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Leclerc favoured a simple wishbone style clutch paddle arrangement during his first season with Ferrari.
Ferrari SF70H steering wheel comparison: Vettel and Raikkonen
This kind of customization is nothing new for Ferrari, as their drivers always look for better ergonomics when operating the clutch and other parameters on their wheel. We can see how Sebastian Vettel made numerous changes to his clutch paddle setup throughout 2017, as he looked to maximise his race starts.
Räikkönen's steering wheel comparison
Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen tended to try and keep things a little more simple, using the wishbone style clutch paddle arrangement throughout.