Ferrari suffer big development blow as true cost of failed upgrades comes to light

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc walking with Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz walking back to the garage with Charles Leclerc

Having to revert to their Imola spec SF-24, Carlos Sainz says Ferrari lost “two or three months” of development as they rolled back on updates.

The second fastest team in the early rounds of the 2024 season, Ferrari were Red Bull’s main rivals as Sainz won the Australian Grand Prix before Charles Leclerc stood on the top step of the podium in Monaco.

Carlos Sainz: We have lost two or three months of performance gain

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

The latter victory came on the back of Ferrari’s first big upgrade of the season as the team put a heavily revised SF-24 on the grid.

The car was a step forward but with McLaren and Mercedes also putting note-worthy upgrades on the track, Ferrari accelerated their development programme with another round of big changes in Spain.

That didn’t produce the lap time they’d hoped for, but more worryingly, it also brought porpoising back to the Ferrari F1 car.

Bouncing around the tracks, especially in the high-speed corners, Sainz admitted prior to the British Grand Prix that it was probably costing them “even more time” than they thought.

It had Ferrari running comparisons tests on the Friday at Silverstone before the team made the call to roll back on the upgrades to basically put the “same car” they had at Imola on the track for qualifying and the Grand Prix.

Sainz finished a distant P5 in the race while strategy calls cost Charles Leclerc who was point-less in 14th place.

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“It is clearly not good enough,” Sainz told the media, including after his P5 result at Silverstone.

“We have basically the same car as in Imola and since Imola everyone has upgraded, probably added two-tenths to the car and we have had to revert.

“We have lost two or three months of performance gain in the wind tunnel or performance we could have added in these three months, so clearly we haven’t taken the right calls recently.

“I feel like today was at least back-to-basics, back to a car which was in Imola and we just need to upgrade it from here. But it is clear that our rivals are a good step ahead of us.”

Ferrari are likely to once again run comparison tests on the Friday of the Hungarian Grand Prix and again in Spa before deciding on which package to progress with each specific weekend.

Sainz reckons more bouncing will be on the cards for the team-mates.

“We will bounce in Turns 4 and 11 [in Hungary], but until something better comes we may have to live with bouncing for a while,” he said.

“In high-speed tracks we might have to run the floor of this [older] package because if not, the other one is undriveable.

“I trust the team will make the right calls circuit-to-circuit until a more solid package, which is not bouncing in high-speed and good in low-speed, arrives and then we will start thinking about battling the top three teams again.”

Ferrari have scored just 50 points in the four races since Leclerc’s Monaco Grand Prix, putting the Scuderia’s P2 in the Constructors’ Championship under threat as they sit just seven points ahead of a charging McLaren team.

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