The Ferrari car for the F1 2024 World Championship will be unveiled on February 13: it is the evolution of the work done since the middle of last year to correct mistakes. It will be easier to driver for both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
After a season in charge, Fred Vasseur has become more cautious and knows the dynamics of Maranello better. The Ferrari that will compete in the F1 2024 World Championship will be unveiled on February 13; there is no time to lose to hit the track in Bahrain.
Fred Vasseur’s Confidence in the Technicians
There doesn’t seem to be room for superstitions either—after all, “it’s a matter of aerodynamic load more than luck,” Fred Vasseur declared, and on this, one couldn’t agree more. The reaction shown after a shocking start in the 2023 World Championship pleased the team principal. It was not taken for granted and is also the result of renewed trust in the group of minds led by Enrico Cardile, promoted to technical director when some might have expected turnovers. However, continuity is a value in F1. February is just around the corner; the technicians are updating the model 676, although the configuration with which the season will start is already quite defined, as explained by F1 expert Giuliano Duchessa for corriere.it.
The Lesson from 2023
Diego Tondi shuttles between the designers and the gallery, where the production of parts has been intensified, to speed up comparisons between the most promising solutions. Work phases that Fred Vasseur has promised to improve further to ensure greater responsiveness in development. Only 5% of the SF-23 will be saved (aside from the power unit); however, Fred Vasseur did not speak of a revolution. Why? The answer lies in the path taken during 2023 by the technical office to correct the many problems. “At the beginning of last season, we climbed a mountain to realize that behind there was an even higher one that we couldn’t see. So we had to climb back up and climb again.” An honest reflection by Enrico Cardile. And even if it wasn’t admitted immediately, the SF-23 at the beginning of the year had been penalized enormously by bouncing. Enrico Cardile’s “magnificent seven” technicians had no choice but to abandon the concept of running low and facilitate a radical transformation, if not in form, in function, and options.
The Race Down to Soar High
If a car has to run higher, it must be designed differently; otherwise, it cannot make the tires work in the window for which it was designed. Degradation is just a consequence. But to climb back up, it was necessary to go through many intermediate stages, between missteps and setbacks. In Barcelona, a new package of updates paved the way for what we will see on the 2024 car. The concept that leverages extremely low heights did not work as well as the Red Bull’s; the technicians struggled with the temptation to bring the floor closer to the ground, only to always go back due to the negative effects of bouncing. With an inevitable consequence: raising the car and losing downforce. A problem that united Ferrari and Mercedes; the latter had the aggravating factor of protecting the rear from harmful flows even worse while respecting the tires more. The W14’s bellies, although redesigned, remained too narrow; however, they provided James Allison’s staff with a key and a different perspective on which to develop better solutions in the wind tunnel.
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Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz: It’s Not a Matter of Style
The Ferrari 2024 (known by the project name, 676) is designed to achieve new goals, a consequence – not a revolution – of the work done in the second half of the year when the SF-23 began to grow. Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz spent the last weeks of December on the simulator. The youngsters were also there to help; Oliver Bearman is said to be very fast. In this regard, the question of the different driving styles of the Ferrari drivers is an overrated theme. “The drivers’ feedback is similar; we need to give them a solid aerodynamic platform, and both will be fine,” they say in Maranello. Adding that the new car is being born with conviction and with the study done in the second half of the season “thanks to extracting performance from areas that were blocked before.”
The Wind Problem
Technically, one of the top priorities was to eliminate hypersensitivity to the wind. F1 activities will resume on January 9-10 when the drivers return to the factory and then to the track at Fiorano in the following days to train on the F1-75 and become familiar with the procedures when all teams can use the 2022 cars without mileage limitations. Ultimately, Ferrari’s approach seems to have been much more cautious and realistic than a year ago. The new Red will not be a revolution, says Fred Vasseur, but we know it will be very different, to discover. And after February 13, the revolution will be needed in the results.