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Why Ferrari have certainty their upgrades will work

Ferrari has a critical upgrade package due this week, which, unlike in previous years, is expected to work as intended.

Uncertainty is an inevitable part of Formula 1, owing to the multitude of variables that determine performance. Both on and off-track, small miscalculations can have a sizable and often unexpected effect. Over the last two years, correlation issues between the simulator and the track have been the demise of many teams. Most notably, Mercedes and Aston Martin. At Ferrari, however, there is confidence about the upgrades to the SF-24.

Last week at Ferrari’s private track in Fiorano, the Scuderia carried out their second permitted filming day of 2024. They strategically held this 200km session just before the Imola GP, collecting data and early information about their incoming update package.

The second iteration of the SF-24, which will debut this weekend, features relatively big changes. Both visual changes to the sidepods and unseen alterations to the floor are parts of the new-and-improved Ferrari.

A predictable platform gives Ferrari confidence

For Fred Vasseur’s team, their approach to the season has been very clear. The first quarter of their F1 2024 campaign was dedicated to understanding a largely new aerodynamic baseline. Owing to their disappointing performance twelve months ago, the winter break was dedicated to producing a car with 95% new components.

Therefore, bringing more upgrades – or rushing improvements to Miami, as some outlets suggested – was not the priority in the early stages of the year. Instead, the technical team in Maranello worked diligently to collect enough data to confidently move forward with their season-long development.

Heading into Imola, the Scuderia have satisfied the criteria they set for themselves.

Critically, this year’s Ferrari challenger does not have any major limiting factors. The SF-24 is stronger on race day than in qualifying, behaving in a predictable way – essential for both development and driver performance.

Vasseur’s team looks to consistently fight for wins

Moving forward, the Italian outfit looks to establish itself as a regular contender for Pole Position and race victory. This year’s improved race pace and reduced tyre degradation have come at a small price. Ferrari struggles more than it did previously to get temperature into its tyres to operate at the ideal window in qualifying.

At Imola, the Italian outfit hopes to extract more performance with both low and high fuel. Perhaps more importantly, they are confident their upgrades will improve the SF-24 by at least three-tenths.

Should they unlock this pace, regardless of whether they maximise their package in every session, they will be a greater threat to Red Bull and McLaren.

Unlike in the recent past, Ferrari brings their first major upgrades with quiet confidence.

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