Mixed impressions from second practice session
The free practice sessions on Friday at the Jeddah circuit offered mixed impressions for Scuderia Ferrari. The two SF-23 cars Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz appeared far from the top in the second free practice session on a flying lap, but there is the extenuating factor of an engine that was clearly used at maximum power.
On the other hand, the race pace appeared rather encouraging, even suggesting that the Italian side could be fighting for a podium finish in Saudi Arabia. The problem in this case, however, concerns the difficulty in understanding the type of work carried out by the other direct rival teams, above all Aston Martin and Mercedes, given that Red Bull still seems to be ahead of everyone. Finally, there was once again the usual sore point of reliability, with the internal combustion engines replaced on the cars of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz but – here too there is a but – only as a precaution. Scuderia Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies analyzed the two free practice session in an interview for Sky Sport F1 and addressed the various key topics of this day point by point.
Laurent Mekies’ comments
“If we had a more balanced car here than in Bahrain? The important thing was to find a second answer on a different track from Bahrain, hoping to be in less difficulty than in Sakhir. Today reading the data is more complicated” – Laurent Mekies pointed out – “Because it’s Friday but above all because there are slightly different programs between the various teams. There have already been differences in the work carried out between our cars, also linked to the penalty that Charles has to take. We still have a lot of work to do, but we have explored several things and we are happy. We have important potential and we saw it again this evening on long runs. Surely what we see in general is that the group is getting very close again. Between the second and ninth team we are quite close. There is Aston Martin, Mercedes and also Alpine, which seems very competitive here. We’ll find out the gap from Red Bull tomorrow. In FP2 we saw smaller gaps than in Bahrain. Finding those final 2-3 tenths could make the difference“ – the French manager explained.
The reliability issue
Finally, a comment on the reliability situation after the difficulties seen in this start of the season: “What was behind the move to change the internal combustion engine? Right now it’s only right for us to take 100% precautions. The important thing is to make the car do many laps to give the drivers confidence. The problem we suffered in Bahrain is complex, we did everything we could do between races to resolve it. Here we took a precaution to drive as much as possible.” – Laurent Mekies concluded.
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