Charles Leclerc has ‘more hope’ for Ferrari in F1 2024 season after Bahrain test

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc speaks to the media.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc expects Red Bull to lead the pack come the first race in Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc admitted his belief that Red Bull are “quite a bit ahead” than their rivals, but Ferrari are working off a “much stronger base” compared to 2023.

Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz completed a largely trouble-free three days of running in Bahrain, aside from a loose drain cover being pulled up by an SF-24 on Thursday, while the Scuderia finished top of the timesheets on two of the three testing days in Sakhir.

Of course, outright lap times in testing are rarely indicative of pace, with Red Bull’s apparent speed raising eyebrows throughout the paddock, but Leclerc offered positive feedback about his new car.

Charles Leclerc: Ferrari working off ‘much stronger base’ with SF-24

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Having put the SF-24 through its paces over the course of pre-season testing, Leclerc was pleased with what he has seen so far, but conceded that Red Bull are still the team to beat as it stands.

“I think the first good thing is that there are no surprises,” Leclerc told media including

“Everything that we expected from this car, we got it on the real track, so that is a good thing because that helps us to develop the car on the simulator and everything seems to make sense.

“Then how competitive we are, it’s very difficult to understand. My personal feeling is that Red Bull is still quite a bit ahead, but we have a much stronger base compared to last year.

“I remember last year, I finished the test and it was very difficult to understand in which direction we developed because the car was just so inconsistent, it was very difficult to understand what were the main weaknesses.

“This year, it’s a very different story. We know exactly where we need to improve, where are the weaknesses, the main weaknesses of this car, and this gives us a bit more hope for the for the development.”

Both he and Sainz were complimentary about how their new challenger handles from their first run at Fiorano following the car’s launch, but while Leclerc acknowledged the car is a “step forward”, how well it handles not not necessarily equal speed. recommends

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“Honestly, from the first lap on the simulator, it felt like an easier car to drive,” Leclerc stated.

“Whenever we drove with some wind, and similar on the track from the very first laps here.

“Once we get here, and the feeling was good, we managed to be consistent straightaway, and this will help the race runs.

“However, as I’ve said these past few days, drivability and competitiveness are two very different things.

“So last year, we were struggling a lot to be consistent because the car was just a bit all over the place whenever there was some wind.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean that, especially in qualifying, that doesn’t mean that we’ll win a lot thanks to that, and that doesn’t mean anything compared to Red Bull.

“So we still have to work a lot and then we’ll see how competitive we are next Friday, but I am confident that we definitely did a step forward in terms of tyre management, because whenever tyres are more used, the weaknesses of the car are more apparent, you can feel them more. And with the characteristics of this car, it should be quite a bit better.”

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