Leclerc on SF24 track debut: ‘The car feels healthier’

Posted on February 15, 2024.

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Charles Leclerc says that Ferrari’s new SF-24 “feels healthier” and is already “in a better place” than its predecessor after sampling the Scuderia’s new design on Tuesday at Fiorano.

Sainz had the privilege of giving the new car its track debut shortly after its presentation to the media. After a series of trouble-free installation laps and a break, it was Leclerc’s turn to slot in behind the wheel of the new-spec machine.The Monegasque had noted “a significant step forward” when he first experienced the SF-24 in Maranello’s simulator.

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Despite a run that lasted just a handful of laps, and with a car equipped with “cameras stuck all around it”, Leclerc provided an equally positive first impression, although assessing the car’s level of performance was impossible.

“I remember that after the first lap last year, or if it wasn’t the first lap, it was the first three, four laps, I wasn’t really happy with the behaviour of the car,” Leclerc explained.

“The car was very, very difficult to drive. This year, the car feels healthier and in a better place.

“On the other hand, I want to push on the point that that doesn’t mean anything on the competitiveness of the car – because if other teams have done a bigger step forward in terms of lap time gains, then it can be an easier car to drive but if it’s not fast enough, it won’t be fast enough on track.

“So in terms of competitiveness, it’s very difficult. In terms of actual feeling of the very first laps, I would say I’ve had a better feeling this year than I did last year.”

Leclerc reckoned that it would likely take a few races for Ferrari to fully understand its car’s characteristics and especially the strength of its package.

The team must also gauge its design’s sensitivity to various track and ambient conditions, a major flaw embedded in last year’s car that heavily impacted its balance.

“Looking back at the previous year, I think you always need to wait two or three races to understand how strong of a package you have on different tracks, because sometimes you can have a very strong package on one track and then you get to another one and you are struggling much more,” Leclerc explained.

“So I think we will always have to wait two or three races to see our car in different conditions, different winds, different temperatures, different track layouts before actually drawing conclusions in what can be achieved and what cannot be achieved that season.

“[Last year] we had a problem of balance, as I was saying, which was mostly linked to the outside conditions, which is wind sensitivity especially, but also temperature, ambient temperature or track temperature. And this was affecting probably more the race pace than the quali pace.

“And in that, as drivers, we have an important feedback to give to the team as these are things that are a bit more difficult to define on data.”

Learn more about the SF24 at

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