Ferrari must ‘not be scared to dare’ in F1 Bahrain Grand Prix

The time has come for all ten Formula 1 teams to show their hands.

And according to Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur, the Scuderia must not be afraid to go big when that time comes.

The 2024 F1 season kicks off this week with the Bahrain Grand Prix, site of last week’s pre-season testing. Ferrari was one of the stronger teams a week ago, as both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. topped the timing sheets at various points through the three days of testing. When the dust settled last Friday, it was a Ferrari 1-2 atop the board for the entire week, with Sainz in the top spot, followed by Leclerc:

This week, however, the lap times count for real, and the C4 compound used by both Ferrari drivers will be unavailable this weekend.

Still, Vasseur is confident heading into the year.

“After the SF-24 completed over seven race distances during testing, when all teams ran to their own programmes, the time has finally come for everyone to show their hand. As from Thursday’s free practice, we will begin to get an idea of the pecking order and see the results of the work we and the other teams have done,” said Vasseur in the team’s media preview.

“Charles and Carlos felt comfortable at the wheel of the SF-24, which is exactly what we had set out to achieve when designing it. We are up against the usual tough opponents and I want to see us adopt the same approach we had in the closing stages of last season. We must not be scared to dare if we believe a bold decision can make the difference when it comes to our performance,” added Vasseur. “The car appears to be competitive, Charles and Carlos are in great shape and the mood in the team is super focused and we are determined to get a good result.”

Matteo Togninalli, the team’s Head of Track Engineering, also summarized the three days of testing from his point of view.

“Of course, three days of testing is clearly not enough to understand and optimise a new car, but we did get a first overall impression. Correlation with simulations and the simulator, as well as the wind tunnel was pretty good and that is clearly a positive,” said Togninalli.

“On track, the car behaved as it had done in the simulation sessions we did with both drivers, both in absolute terms and compared to 2023 and we were also able to check how the car responded to various changes,” added Togninalli. “This is very important in order to use the various tools that help us optimise the package and for future development. The drivers said the car handled well and was consistent in a variety of conditions, which was one of the goals we had set ourselves, as it can be a help when it comes to race pace and tyre management.”

Similar to Vasseur, Togninalli believes the first race of the season will be a tight contest.

“Overall, I expect the situation won’t be that much different to what we saw at the end of 2023, with the reigning champions and our other close rivals all showing good potential,” added Togninalli. “You can’t really define a pecking order at this stage, but the gaps between teams will be probably be down to just a few tenths.”

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