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Fred Vasseur reveals Ferrari has removed key weakness in 2024

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur believes the SF-24 is a far stronger platform than last year’s car, owing to a key characteristic.

Some observers might struggle to see reasons for positivity at Ferrari in early 2024. After all, the Italian outfit starts the F1 season several points behind Red Bull – who have secured consecutive 1-2 finishes.

Max Verstappen continues to excel in an RB20 machine that has raised the bar. At face value, Fred Vassuer and his personnel are still several steps behind the reigning Champions.

However, there are plenty of indications that the Maranello-based outfit is reducing the deficit.

Perhaps the most important development for Ferrari this year is that – unlike last year – there is not a significant discrepancy between qualifying and race pace.

This was a problem that plagued the team twelve months ago, although there was notable progress in the final third of the season.

So far, in 2024, this upward trajectory has continued. Even customer team Haas are benefiting from the Scuderia’s progress.

Although Enciro Cardile and his technical team are still working to extract more performance, the SF-24 is clearly more of a Sunday car than a Saturday one.

This is welcome news in Maranello, given that points are handed out in F1 for securing results on race day.

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Fred Vasseur pleased with progress

The Ferrari team principal reflected on the team’s success in reducing its tyre wear after round 2 in Jeddah:

“When he [Leclerc] had a clear track ahead of him he was able to match the pace of the Red Bulls – to the extent that he set the fastest lap at the very end.

“We have to put our rivals under pressure if we want to beat them and today, we didn’t manage it.

“The good news is that we have made progress in terms of the tyres and had minimal degradation.”

As outlined in Vasseur’s comments, there is still lap time to unlock within Ferrari’s existing package.

Despite making admirable progress in race pace, the SF-24 still cannot activate its tyres like its predecessor.

This must be addressed in order to compete with a well-rounded machine like the RB20. Max Verstappen is developing a habit of starting from first and driving off into the distance.

Ferrari claimed an impressive five Pole Positions in the final nine races of 2023. If they can recapture this prowess on Saturdays, they can certainly give Red Bull more of a headache on race day.

What will encourage the Italian squad is that – as it stands – they are operating with a relatively basic specification.

Once the SF-24 receives more advanced upgrades, the true potential of its existing package will become more evident.

Given Red Bull and Verstappen’s current dominance, it is understandable there are doubts they will be toppled under these regulations.

However, of all the F1 teams on the grid, Scuderia Ferrari is best placed to challenge the Dutchman for race victories.

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