Ferrari’s Quest for Improvement in the 2024 Season
In a season filled with perplexities and discontinuities, Scuderia Ferrari narrowly missed out on second place in the constructors’ standings by a mere three points to their fierce rivals Mercedes. However, they collected fewer than half the points accumulated by dominant title winners Red Bull.
Throughout the year, Ferrari’s car displayed promising performance during qualifying sessions. Both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc secured an impressive seven pole positions. However, when it came to race pace, they struggled to keep up with their competitors.
One of the main challenges faced by Ferrari was an unstable rear end that affected their overall performance. In an attempt to address this issue, the team decided to adjust their set-up towards understeer. Unfortunately, this adjustment ended up causing difficulties specifically for Leclerc.
As Ferrari looks ahead and develops a new concept for the upcoming 2024 season, Sainz expresses his optimism about driving a different car model based on his experience in the team simulator. When asked about progress made so far, he acknowledges that determining true potential remains challenging:
“I think we’re going to need to wait until testing,” says Sainz confidently but cautiously. “I think it’s incredibly difficult to know.”
Sainz elaborates further stating that while there are noticeable differences in how the car behaves within simulated conditions compared to last year’s model, true evaluation can only occur during testing sessions in Bahrain. It is only then that they can accurately analyze the car’s performance with race fuel and used tires, taking into account tire management, overall pace, and how it will affect their race strategy.
Ferrari remains focused on enhancing the car’s performance through rigorous wind tunnel testing while aiming to bridge the gap to Red Bull. Sainz believes that sacrifices may need to be made regarding certain aspects of the SF-23 – such as straight-line speed, braking capabilities, short-corner performance, and kerb riding abilities – if it means getting closer to their main contenders.
Additionally, Ferrari recognizes the importance of achieving consistency in their performances. The fluctuating form showcased throughout 2023 serves as a reminder of this necessity. Sainz explains:
“We understood it and now we just put it on track and we try to maximize it every weekend,” emphasizes Sainz with determination. “I think we are doing a much better job of that.”
The unpredictability witnessed last season highlights the ever-evolving nature of Formula 1 racing today. Ferrari aims to comprehend why their car excels in specific types of circuits while struggling on others with varying corner characteristics.