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Scuderia Ferrari: ‘Very Different’ for 2024

Carlos Sainz of Ferrari during the Formula 1 post-season test at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on November 28, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto | Getty Images)

With just three points separating them from Mercedes at the end of the 2023 Formula 1 season, Ferrari finished third in the Constructors’ Standings. After completing a season full of uncertainties, teammates Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz undoubtedly struggled to get a grip on the SF-23.

The 2023 contender for Ferrari proved to be a car capable of qualifying well, as seen by the pair securing seven pole positions throughout the season. However, Leclerc and Sainz were constantly puzzled by the lack of race pace. Disappointment was evident following the early-season incidents that both drivers for the prancing horse team suffered.

As Ferrari started developing a new concept for 2024, Sainz uttered his concern that the car was ‘behaving differently’ on the simulator in comparison to its predecessors. In Abu Dhabi, Sainz spoke to the media about Ferrari’s future endeavor.

“I think until we put the car in 100 kilos [race fuel] and used tyres, it’s going to be impossible to see how the car is actually treating the tyres, treating the pace and how our race pace is going to be affected,” Sainz said.

Despite the strong but patchy season with Ferrari, the duo was close to beating Mercedes to P2 in Constructors’ Standings. Sainz was also the season’s sole non-Red Bull team driver to achieve a race victory.

Regardless of the setbacks in 2023, Sainz is confident. He believes that the team will need to wait until pre-season testing to fully assess the genuine attributes and possibilities of the 2024 concept’s design. Sainz has faith in the team’s ability to turn things around, certain that the team can achieve its fullest potential.

Ferrari team drivers Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Carlos Sainz of Spain talk to the crowd on the fan stage prior to final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 28, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1 | Getty Images)

After finding it difficult to control the SF-23 in the 2023 season, Leclerc briefly expressed his excitement for Ferrari’s future F1 challenger during the Dutch Grand Prix. In an effort to get the admired team back to its winning ways, Ferrari’s Head of Chassis, Enrico Cardile, vowed a development transformation for the forthcoming year.

Cardile told the medias from Formula 1, “From there, next year’s car will not be an evolution of this year’s car like this year’s car has been compared to last year’s car, but it will be a brand-new car – different chassis with different design, different rear end to allow our aero [department] to better develop the car to achieve their targets.”

Leclerc was ecstatic to hear the news and said he ‘can’t wait’ to switch from the SF-23 to the ‘brand-new’ 2024 car, just as Ferrari promised. 

When questioned about Ferrari’s 2024 challenger just two races later, Leclerc’s response was in stark contrast to his early-on excitement. The Monegasque revealed something similar to his fellow teammate, Sainz, calling the car ‘very different’ in comparison to the SF-23.

“We learnt plenty during Monza, especially about our weaknesses,” said Leclerc during the build-up to the Singapore Grand Prix. “The 2024 project is very different from the car we have this year. With everything we’ve learned so far, it reaffirms that it’s a good choice for next year. The more we learn, the better it is for the last few details on next year’s car. It’s super important to understand before the end of the season.”

Claiming that the team now understands more, Leclerc was optimistic as he called it ‘positive’ now that the team is heading in the right direction on designing their upcoming car.

Frederic Vasseur ahead of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on November 26, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto | Getty Images)

Ferrari Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur, was just as assertive going towards the 2024 season. Ferrari has decided to tackle its shortcomings from the ground up by designing an entirely new car for the upcoming season, as opposed to making small modifications. However, Vasseur is making strides towards confidence as the team maintains composure, adheres to their plan, and works to improve on their 2024 concept little by little.

Upon this year’s Fiorano debut, the SF-23 was believed to make up for the drawbacks of its originally competitive 2022 chassis. Vasseur admitted that the team had a level of confidence that was ‘too high’ early on in the 2023 season, and that it should not be repeated.

In an interview with Sky Sports after the final Abu Dhabi race, Vasseur said, “It’s not today that we missed something. I think we had momentum into the season where we were struggling much more. We had the reliability issue, it’s not just the last race that is making the championship, but overall I will take the positive of this today that we are improving.”

Scuderia Ferrari is also the first team to unveil their ‘95% new’ 2024 challenger launch date. Just a day earlier than the 2023 showcase of their car, Ferrari’s new car will be unveiled by February 13, 2024.

“The launch will take place on the 13th of February, the day before Valentine’s Day, and then you will see the rest [of the details, including the car’s name] on that day,” said Vasseur when asked by during a media event in Maranello. Eight days before Bahrain’s pre-season testing session, the car will make its public debut. A little over a week later, it will participate in its first round of testing at the same venue.

Ferrari’s upcoming challenger is nearly finished and prepared for its initial testing. Sainz’ and Leclerc’s contracts expire after the 2024 season, however negotiations are still on to extend their partnerships with Ferrari until 2025 and beyond.

The success of the 2024 concept model will undoubtedly have an enormous impact on the future of Scuderia Ferrari and its drivers.

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