Formula 1

Carlos Sainz Cautiously Optimistic About Ferrari’s 2024 Prospects After Simulator Anomalies

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari’s Formula 1 driver, expressed reservations about solely relying on simulator data to gauge the 2024 car’s performance. His comments follow a season where Ferrari’s expectations based on simulations didn’t match actual race outcomes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Simulator Discrepancies: Carlos Sainz highlighted the difference in car behavior in the simulator versus real-life conditions, suggesting that Ferrari’s 2024 car is unpredictable based on current data.
  • Season Review: Despite a lackluster start to the 2023 season, Ferrari’s continuous improvements led to Sainz winning the Singapore Grand Prix, though they remained behind Red Bull overall.
  • Future Focus: For the 2024 season, Sainz emphasized the importance of pre-season testing in Bahrain to truly understand the car’s capabilities and the necessity of refining it in the wind tunnel.

In the ever-evolving world of Formula 1, Ferrari’s approach to the 2024 season is marked by both anticipation and caution. Carlos Sainz, a pivotal figure in the Scuderia Ferrari lineup, has voiced his apprehension regarding the reliance on simulator data to forecast the performance of their 2024 title contender. This skepticism stems from the car’s unexpected behavior in the simulator compared to real-world conditions.

The previous season saw Ferrari’s boss confidently praise the 2023 car before its debut in Bahrain. However, this optimism was short-lived as Carlos Sainz lagged significantly behind Max Verstappen in the Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing 48 seconds behind the race winner. This outcome highlighted a discrepancy between the team’s expectations based on simulation data and the car’s actual performance on the track.

Despite a rocky start, Ferrari’s relentless efforts to overcome the SF-23 F1 car’s challenges bore fruit, particularly in the latter half of the season. Sainz’s victory in Singapore stood as a testament to these improvements, marking him as the only non-Red Bull driver to clinch a Grand Prix win that year. However, the upgrades were not sufficient to consistently challenge the dominance of Red Bull’s RB19 throughout the season.

Looking ahead, Sainz’s comments at the season finale in Abu Dhabi indicate a measured approach to the 2024 car. He stated, “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. 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’s insights reveal a team that has grown in understanding and adaptability. He elaborated, “We understood it and now we just put it on track and we try to maximize 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.”

As Ferrari prepares for the 2024 season, the emphasis lies in translating this improved understanding into tangible results on the racetrack. The pre-season testing in Bahrain will be crucial in providing a clearer picture of the car’s capabilities, guiding the team’s strategies for the upcoming championship challenge.

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