Formula 1 Racing

Ferrari F1 drivers out of “survival mode” with “huge step” on car consistency

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Last year, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc often had to focus on tyre management, which was made more difficult by inconsistent and unpredictable behaviour even between sets of the same compound.

This year’s SF-24 has proved to be much more benign and predictable on long runs, and that was a key to the spectacular 1-2 finish for Sainz and Leclerc in Australia last weekend.

Vasseur says that tyre management is the main improvement achieved by the team compared to 2023, rather than outright speed.

“We made a huge step forward,” he said. “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. 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.”

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

Vasseur also says the drivers are now better able to look after their tyres through a race stint.

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

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