June 14, 2024
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari must work on this area to improve the SF-24.
Leclerc crossed the line in 4th place at the Chinese GP, claiming another solid result in the SF-24. On paper, Ferrari can be satisfied with their start to the 2024 campaign. With one victory and several podium finishers, they have no shortage of silverware. In addition, their 2024 challenger has proven faster (in relative and absolute terms) than its predecessor whilst also being far more predictable. Unfortunately for Fred Vasseur’s personnel, the fifth round of the year in Shanghai revealed some unwanted characteristics in the SF-24.

Generally speaking, tyre warm-up has been Ferrari’s biggest Achilles this year. For much of last season, the team focused on improving its tyre management – which emerged as a key problem. The Italian outfit’s 2023 season was defined by strong qualifying performances that were inevitably followed by disappointing finishes on race day. This was fundamentally due to the tyres, which quickly generated heat to reach peak grip in low-fuel running. However, this strength became a severe limitation over a Grand Prix, giving Red Bull a comfortable advantage.

So far in 2024, race pace has been a strength at Ferrari. The SF-24 does not fire-up its tyres to the same extend as last season’s iteration, allowing Leclerc and Sainz to extend their stints on Sunday. However, this can become a problem.

Max Verstappen now enjoys a far greater advantage in qualifying than he did in 2023. This is largely because Ferrari is unable to get the necessary heat into their tyres to perform at their best on Saturday. Worryingly for the engineers in Maranello, this issue was also present in Chinese GP – with both SF-24 cars struggling to get heat into their tyres.
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc outlines biggest Ferrari weaknesses
Charles Leclerc reflected on this weakness post-race and what to expect in Miami:

“I think it’s going to be in line with what we have seen so far,” motorsportweek quotes him as saying.

“We’ll be working obviously on trying to understand what was going on with the hard today – to try and fix that and hopefully don’t have that again sometime in the season. But I don’t know.

“It also depends on whoever is bringing upgrades there. We probably won’t, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer.”

McLaren and Mercedes are the biggest players that will introduce upgrades in Miami. Ferrari, meanwhile, will not introduce the next phase of the SF-24’s development until round seven of the season in Imola.

Despite a disappointing race last weekend, the Scuderia refuse to panic. Instead, their priority is to optimise what they currently have at their disposal – before implementing changes to increase the raw performance of their 2024 car.

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