The Ferrari is 'consistent' but it needs to be 'fast'

The Ferrari is ‘consistent’ but it needs to be ‘fast’


Ferrari concludes three days of winter testing, revealing significant progress with their new car. Team principal Fred Vasseur remains cautiously optimistic, despite unclear standings in the competitive hierarchy against teams like Red Bull.

Ferrari wrapped up three days of promising winter testing, showcasing a car that represents an improvement over its predecessor. Fred Vasseur, the team’s principal, is indeed pleased with the feedback from the drivers but remains uncertain about the team’s standing in the hierarchy.

“It’s a step forward in terms of driving ease, consistency over long runs, we’ve made some progress. It’s hard to gauge where we stand in terms of outright performance because we don’t know the fuel levels other teams are using,” Vasseur stated.

“I think it’s very tight behind Red Bull, as I believe Red Bull is slightly ahead, and ten kilos of fuel can shift you from second to the sixth force. For now, we’re focused on ensuring the car is easy to drive over long stints to maintain performance.”

“Last year, we were much more competitive in qualifying, achieving five or six pole positions towards the end of the season, yet we only won one race. But yesterday, Carlos had some good stints; we can only compare ourselves with those who ran race distances, but it’s challenging, so we’re mainly focused on the drivers’ feedback.”

The Frenchman, however, acknowledges that beating Red Bull will be tough: “We race to win, but it will be challenging because Red Bull clearly has an advantage. We’ll see next weekend, but their advantage is undeniable. We won’t stop; we’ll continue to give our all and keep the motivation to allow us to come back.”

The SF-24 is “on another planet” compared to the 23

Vasseur discusses how he personally approaches his second year with the
“We’re more integrated, better acquainted with the people, systems, processes, but it’s not a one-person issue; there are 1000 people in the team.”

He outlines what he would consider a success this year, after a frustrating 2023 season: “I wasn’t happy because we were third, but I was pleased with how the team responded. The fact that we managed to progress throughout the year was satisfying, and I want to maintain that momentum.”

Vasseur confirms that long stints are a real positive for Ferrari this year, with significant improvements in tire performance. However, the Frenchman remains cautious about drawing conclusions.

“With the consistency and pace of the race, the degradation we had yesterday for the longest stint was on another planet compared to last year. At least on that point, we’ve made a step forward, but now it’s not just about being consistent but also fast.”

Despite Ferrari’s progress, Red Bull maintains a ‘significant lead,’ according to Leclerc

The completely redesigned Ferrari SF-24 has so far fully met Scuderia’s expectations.

Echoing his teammate Carlos Sainz’s comments from yesterday, Charles Leclerc, after concluding the winter testing in Bahrain at the top, expressed not so much enthusiasm as satisfaction.

Ferrari might not be as fast as Red Bull, but at least, the foundation for work is healthy (unlike last year).

“We’ve finished our third day of testing, having completed a good number of laps and conducted many different tests, which is positive. The car responds as we wished, but it’s still difficult to assess its competitive level at this point. It’s still very hard to understand exactly where we stand, but we followed our program.”

“We didn’t encounter any major issues.”

“I think the first good thing is that there are no surprises. Everything we expected from this car was confirmed on the track, so that’s good because it helps us develop the car on the simulator and everything seems to make sense.”

“For now, it’s very difficult to know how competitive we are.”

“I remember last year, I finished the tests and it was very, very hard to understand in which direction to develop the car – because it was so erratic and inconsistent; it was very difficult to understand what the main weaknesses were.”

“This year, it’s a very different story. We know exactly where we need to improve the main weaknesses of this car, and that gives us a bit more hope for the car’s development.”

“Let’s wait and see what happens next Friday and I’ll tell you if it’s positive or not.”

“Last year, I probably had the worst winter testing of my entire career. This year, it’s much better.”

The SF-24 has also made progress on long runs and tire wear, and appears to be less sensitive to wind, continues the Monegasque.

“From our side, it’s much better.”

“I think one of the main weaknesses of last year’s car was its sensitivity to wind.”

“Whenever the wind changed slightly, our car was extremely difficult to drive, with huge differences in terms of balance from one corner to the next, and this year, we’re in a much better position on this.”

“That’s what we wanted. We worked hard on it and got confirmation from the first day, which is good.”

“I’m convinced we’ve made a step forward in terms of tire management, because when the tires are more worn, the car’s weaknesses become more apparent, you can feel them more, and with the characteristics of this car, it should be a bit better.”

However, this Ferrari doesn’t feature a radical solution, at least not as visually innovative as Red Bull’s, for example. Does this mean the development curve will be less steep than during the second half of last season when Ferrari made significant progress?

“I don’t know, it’s too early to say and it’s very difficult to predict.”

Despite these positive signals, Charles Leclerc is clear-eyed: Red Bull remains ahead. Far ahead?

“For now, I feel that Red Bull still has a significant lead, but we have a much more solid base than last year.”

Carlos Sainz was at the wheel of the SF-24 during the morning and was pleased with the work done

“It was a final good effort here in Sakhir, to maximize these last laps before moving on to the Bahrain GP next week. Overall, it was a good day, despite the red flag that slightly disrupted the course of my session, but I enjoyed every lap in the car today.”

“We tested many different configurations to collect as much data as possible. The car seems to be in a decent position and I’m proud of the work the team has done to carry out such a solid testing program.”

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