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Ferrari's Crucial Clash in Australian GP

Ferrari Targets Red Bull in Australian GP

20/03/2024

In a pivotal Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari aims to solidify its status as the grid’s second force, with Carlos Sainz returning to action.

Ferrari is set to compete in a crucial Australian Grand Prix, having established itself as the second force on the grid in the first two races. The Scuderia has confirmed Carlos Sainz’s return this weekend, after he was substituted by Ollie Bearman in Jeddah.

“Carlos Sainz is expected to make a comeback in the car, after missing Jeddah due to appendicitis,” wrote the Scuderia. “He and his teammate Charles Leclerc are likely to fight at the front of the pack, as they did in the first two rounds.”

Team principal Fred Vasseur confirms the team’s intention to pressure Red Bull after being dominated by the Milton Keynes squad in Bahrain and Jeddah, particularly by Max Verstappen.

“After a busy start to the season, with back-to-back races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, we’ve made the year’s longest journey to Australia. Albert Park’s circuit is a favorite among drivers, and Ferrari has always received strong support there,” said Vasseur.

“We expect to be at the forefront on this track, which could produce a hierarchy similar to that seen in Jeddah. We plan to take an aggressive approach in an attempt to pressure the team that won the first two races.”

“Significant effort” to catch up with Red Bull

Enrico Cardile, Ferrari’s chassis department technical director, discusses how the team is adapting to its new car and the progress made over several months with the SF-24.

“With two podiums, we are pleased with the SF-24’s progression curve compared to last year’s car. Since pre-season testing and the first two races, we’ve seen positive signs in line with the development path set last year,” states Cardile.

“Of course, we aim to do better than two third places. Red Bull is still faster than us, and although we’ve outperformed the other top teams, it’s not yet enough, and there’s a lot of work to do!”

The engineer praises the good correlation around the new car: “The performance in the first events showed a good correlation with simulation tools, which is very positive. Let’s say there were no surprises. The limitations we observed at the factory were confirmed on track.”

“We have a fairly clear idea of the car’s weaknesses, starting with tire management and balance. Formula 1 is about continuous improvement and planning. The early events confirmed the development direction and priorities we had set.”

“The factory’s goal is to quickly find performance in the wind tunnel and work hard to bring updates to the track as soon as possible while making the most of the package we have.”

Ferrari is better positioned than at the start of 2023 in the hierarchy, but Cardile explains the desire to improve further: “Before the first free practice session of the season, it’s always difficult to have a realistic idea of the pack’s hierarchy, as each team is only aware of its own work.”

“However, we are just at the beginning of a very long season, and it will be vital to improve the car at a good pace. Last year, we saw how the hierarchy can change, so a team can either move up or down.”

“We started as the fourth-best team and ended up fighting for second place in the championship. In the coming months, our sole focus will therefore be to catch up with the current leaders.”

Ferrari’s Crucial Clash in Australian GP . Ferrari’s Crucial Clash in Australian GP

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