Leclerc says dominant ART operates "like an F1 team"
Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc says the key to his ART Grand Prix squad's domination of GP3 this season is down to the way it operates, which he likens to a Formula 1 team.
The French team, which has produced three of the series' six past champions (Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon), is well positioned to supply a fourth after a strong start to this year's campaign.
Leclerc and Alex Albon are separated by two points at the top of the drivers' standings after three rounds, having taken two wins apiece, while the efforts of Nyck de Vries and Nirei Fukuzumi give ART an advantage of 145 points over closest rival Trident in the teams' championship.
And Leclerc, who has already driven grand prix machinery for Ferrari and Haas, says he sees certain similarities between how ART goes about the business of racing compared to F1 teams.
"I understood it straight away, as soon as I worked with them," Leclerc told Motorsport.com. "They're a very serious team. By GP3 standards, what they do is really impressive.
"Sometimes, it really feels like being in an F1 team, with many fewer people obviously, but they're very serious. The debriefs are very serious.
"They're very experienced too, and all of this means they're dominant at the moment.
"I expected it to be honest, the way they work has impressed me since the start of the season, and that’s what I think makes a big difference and why I went to them this year."
Asked how much of a factor he felt the quality of ART's driving strength has played in its results, he added: “The thing that helps is that my three teammates are really good drivers, and we just keep improving.
"I look at the data and maybe Alex is faster in one corner, Nyck will be faster in another, so it’s good for us as we can find the right set-up really quickly.
“If you put not a good driver in a good car, you won’t have good results.”
Albon agreed that the quality of the drivers has been a major factor in ART's performances, while pointing out that their lives are made easier by the work that goes in at the team's base in Villeneuve-La-Guyard.
“We’re in a dynamic where we have four drivers who understand the car, and who can develop the car quite well," said the Anglo-Thai. "In a race weekend we can go through four different set-ups quickly and find a good base.
"So in that sense the drivers help, and the team does an excellent job. A lot of the ‘homework’ has already been done at the factory, and then when we come to the races we’re never far off in terms of set-up, it’s just fine tuning."
Additional reporting by Benjamin Vinel
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