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Sainz: 2024 Ferrari F1 car “behaving differently” in the simulator

Ferrari’s 2024 Formula 1 car is “behaving differently” in the simulator as the team seeks to eliminate the major performance swings that hobbled it this year, according to Carlos Sainz.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

The Scuderia narrowly missed out on second in the constructors’ standings by three points to Mercedes but collected fewer than half the points of runaway title winner Red Bull.

While the 2023 car could compete in qualifying, with Sainz and Charles Leclerc notching seven pole positions, race pace was lacking.

It also suffered from an unstable rear end, which the team sought to solve by moving the set-up towards understeer. This particularly hurt Leclerc.

As Ferrari develops a new concept for the 2024 season, Sainz reckons the car model already feels different to drive in the team simulator. Asked about the progress, he said: “I think we're going to need to wait until testing. I think it's incredibly difficult to know.

“The car in the simulator is behaving differently, for sure. But I think until we put the car in 100 kilos [race fuel] and used tyres, it's going to be impossible to see how the car is actually treating the tyres, treating the pace and how our race pace is going to be affected.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

“That we will only know in Bahrain [testing] when we put it on track. In the meantime, we can just focus on adding performance to that car in the wind tunnel and trying to make it better.”

Sainz says Ferrari must be willing to sacrifice the strengths of the SF-23 - he picked out straight-line speed, braking, short-corner performance and an ability to ride the kerbs as it main assets - should it get the team closer to Red Bull.

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As part of this, the Singapore Grand Prix victor reckoned Ferrari is now focusing heavily on unlocking consistency to iron out the fluctuating form that typified its 2023 campaign.

He continued: “We understood it and now we just put it on track and we try to maximise it every weekend. I think we are doing a much better job of that.

“It's almost unbelievable that these swings in performance can happen. But it is the Formula 1 of nowadays.

“Now we need to focus on making sure… we understand why the car there is strong and why so weak in other types of circuits and corners.”

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