Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Why Ferrari are confident they can challenge Red Bull

Ferrari believes they are capable of putting Red Bull under pressure in 2024.

In little over twelve months, Fred Vasseur can be credited with transforming the situation at Ferrari. After inheriting a team that was several steps behind Red Bull, the French team principal has overseen a dramatic overhaul at Maranello. Aside from the obvious on-track improvements with the SF-24, the Italian outfit is better operationally. The Japanese GP was a clear example of Ferrari’s improved strategy and pit-stops, culminating in their strong start to 2024. However, there are updates arriving on the SF-24, which, provided they work, should unlock an additional step in performance.

For obvious reasons, the Scuderia’s victory courtesy of Carlos Sainz in Australia was a pivotal moment. The Spaniard led teammate Charles Leclerc to the team’s first 1-2 finish in two seasons. The third round of 2024 also confirmed Ferrari’s improved tyre management, a strength that was again confirmed as Leclerc executed a one-stop race in Suzuka. In the last few months, Fred Vassuer has consistently emphasised the importance of putting pressure on Red Bull. For various reasons, the personnel at Maranello have reason to believe they can make the reigning Champions uneasy.

Embed from Getty Images

Ferrari pleasantly surprised in Suzuka

Oddly enough, perhaps the most encouraging race of the season for Ferrari was in Japan. Whilst Red Bull secured a 1-2 finish with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, the race weekend in Suzuka surpassed expectations for Ferrari. Heading into the race weekend, it was hypothesised that McLaren could challenge the Italian squad as the second-fastest team. The Japanese circuit’s high-speed characteristics are more favourable to the MCL38 than the SF-24. However, it was Ferrari that was Red Bull’s closest challenger at a circuit which – on paper – is not suited to their car.

Only six months ago, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were nowhere near Red Bull at this very circuit. Of course, the RB20 still reigned supreme in Japan. However, Ferrari significantly reduced the gap and – more importantly – demonstrated the SF-24 can perform across several circuits. The team’s ability to fight at the front regardless of circuit layout will be critical in their efforts to mount a sustained challenge to Red Bull. Their improved tyre management also transforms their races from defensive to offensive operations.

Embed from Getty Images

Upgrades for the SF-24

Another positive for Ferrari is that their first upgrades of 2024 will arrive soon. In Suzuka, an important update package unlocked additional performance for Red Bull. Helmut Marko confirmed that the RB20’s latest improvements generated the desired results. When Ferrari introduces their long-awaited updates in Imola, they will have an opportunity to respond.

Unlike last year’s challenger, the SF-24 is a very stable platform. Moving forward, the Maranello-based team can introduce updates with confidence that they will generate the lap time shown in the simulator. Whilst Adrian Newey’s latest creation is still at the front, Fred Vasseur’s personnel now have the tools to provide upsets at the front. This weekend in China, a circuit more friendly to Ferrari, is an opportunity for Ferrari to challenge Red Bull again.


More Posts

Send Us A Message