Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari SF-24, 2024

New Ferrari “definitely a step forward compared to last year” on simulator – Leclerc

Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc is encouraged by his first experience of Ferrari’s new car after driving it on the team’s simulator.

Ferrari presented the new SF-24 today and Leclerc’s team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr was the first to drive it at their Fiorano test track. Leclerc said he had a positive impression from his first virtual experience of the car.

“On the simulator, the feeling is good,” he said. “The car is definitely a step forward compared to last year.

“We’ve been focusing on the main weaknesses we had last year as we do every year and for now the car on the simulator has been reacting extremely well.”

However he is reserving final judgement until he’s seen the car’s real-world performance. “There’s obviously another important part to all of this is how much it correlates to, then, the real car once we put it in Bahrain for the first time on the track.

“This will be a crucial moment that will tell us whether we did a good job for this season. But until now, so far so good and everything we’ve tested on the simulator was positive.”

Ferrari were the only team besides Red Bull to win a race during 2023 and ended the season as one of the closest challengers to last year’s dominant world champions. However they experienced problems with their car early in the season as its performance tended to fluctuate wildly.

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“I think the main area where we had to work on was the sensitivity to the change of conditions,” said Leclerc. “We had a very peaky car last year where it was very strong whenever we had all the perfect conditions but whenever one of these factors, whether it’s temperature, wind speed, force or direction, it will have a huge impact on our car.

“This we wanted to change for this car to make it better and easier to drive, as it was very difficult whenever it was windy conditions and this is something that I would like to see change for this year.”

Sainz was more reserve about the car’s performance, speaking before he shook down the SF-24 chassis. “I really don’t like going into specifics of how the car feels in the simulator, because it’s obviously something very private for the team,” he said. “But yes, it definitely feels different.

“The target is for the car to feel different, to give more confidence to the drivers and to be able to extract more lap time from it. Last year wasn’t easy in that front, but this year, I’m pretty sure we have made steps in the right direction. Whether it will be enough or not, only time will tell.”

Ferrari “are trying to improve all the areas,” with its new chassis, said Sainz. “I think if we really want to challenge for the world title this year, we need to improve in every single area of the car.

“That’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do all the winter and the past season, to try and improve every single area. Don’t leave anything without touching it or without trying to improve it. And with that approach and with this mindset this car is one thing to improve in every single area.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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One comment on “New Ferrari “definitely a step forward compared to last year” on simulator – Leclerc”

  1. Why do the wheel covers make it look like it’s got 13″ rims on it? Do the wheel cover really make kuch difference to the dirty air? The cars have already been producing more dirty air than the start of the regs, enough so that the driver and the fans can tell.

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