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Vasseur: SF-24 easier to driver, read, develop

Vasseur: SF-24 easier to drive, read, develop

Vasseur: SF-24 easier to driver, read, develop

Frederic Vasseur hailed the huge step Ferrari made over the winter to produce the SF-24, a car easier to drive, read, and develop.

Ferrari showed up to the 2024 Formula 1 season with what seems to be the second-fastest car behind Red Bull, but in the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, the SF-24 was on par with the RB20, as the Italian team were able to deal with tyre graining better than the reigning Champions.

Ferrari drivers pushed Max Verstappen hard all weekend long down under, and while Charles Leclerc messed up in qualifying, Carlos Sainz lined up second on the grid and went on to win the race after the Dutchman retired with brake failure. Leclerc was second.

Looking back on the weekend and from the pace Ferrari showed in the practice, the race wouldn’t have been a straight forward affair for Verstappen had he not retired, as he would’ve had to fend off a tough challenge from the Red Cars.

Speaking after the race, Fred Vasseur was singing the praises of the SF-24, a vast improvement compared to its predecessor, the SF-23 that had a huge appetite for tyres during races despite being fast on one lap.

Vasseur said, quoted by Motorsport.com, he said: “We made a huge step forward. Perhaps on the pace of one lap, it’s true that we were not nowhere last year on one-lap pace.

“But where we made a huge step I think it’s more on the consistency between the two compounds. Between one stint and the other one, the car is much easier to drive.

“Much easier to read also for our drivers, and by the way much easier to develop,” he went on. “And it’s probably the biggest step that we did compared to last year, to have something that we cannot easily manage, but at least have a good read of the car quite early into the weekend.”

The SF-24 easier to improve over the weekend

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In 2023, Ferrari bagged seven pole positions, but only won in Singapore, when Red Bull imploded, which proved that their car was fast in qualifying but tough to manage in races.

Vasseur continued: “What is true is that last year, the main issue was the fact that the car was very difficult to drive into the race.

“Then you had to do a step [in the pace], you were doing mistakes, damaging the tyres. And then it’s kind of negative spiral.

“This year, it’s much easier I think to read for them, to know where is the limit, and to stay just a bit below. And when you have to go to tyre management, it’s much, much easier.

“They are much more under control than they were last year, when they were a bit in the survival mode, and by this you are killing the tyres quite quickly,” the Frenchman concluded.

Following the Australian GP, Ferrari are only four points behind Red Bull, the leaders of the 2024 F1 Constructors’ Championship.

Leclerc is second behind Verstappen in the F1 Drivers’ Standings, also four points behind, while Sainz – who missed out on the Saudi Arabian GP for appendicitis surgery – is fourth seven points behind his teammate.