Ferrari’s ‘weak design philosophy’ mooted as SF-24 bounces in Bahrain

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc tests the SF-24 in Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc drives Ferrari SF-24.

As F1 heads into its third season with ground-effect aerodynamic cars, Anthony Davidson says the design philosophy at Ferrari could be a “weak link” as Charles Leclerc bounced around the Sakhir circuit in his new SF-24.

Bouncing, or porpoising, was a huge issue in Formula 1’s first season in the ground-effect aerodynamic era with almost every car on the grid, barring the Red Bull, suffering from the phenomenon.

So much so, the sport’s bosses pushed through regulation changes last season, tweaking the floors amidst concerns about the long-term health of the drivers.

The ‘one thing’ Ferrari haven’t been able to eradicate

Yet still, the Ferrari SF-23 bounced. Although it wasn’t as bad as it was in the first year, it was still noticeable at some tracks.

Davidson says it doesn’t look as if Ferrari have resolved the issue with their 2024 challenger, the SF-24, with Leclerc bouncing on the opening morning of pre-season testing.

“Compared to the Red Bull the car is bouncing,” the former F1 driver noted on F1TV.

“That’s one thing that Ferrari have never seen to completely get rid of in a car.

“You see it there, the front just fluttering up and down, those inconsistencies of ride height change sparking away again as it goes over the bumps at Turn 1.

“Just seems like they still haven’t fixed that, which I see is a bit of a weak link in their design philosophy at Ferrari.”

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But that’s just one issue Ferrari need to resolve.

Last season the SF-23 ate its tyres and while Ferrari were able to negate some of the damage as the season progressed, it continued to be heavy on the tyres.

While the car showed great qualifying pace, Leclerc claiming five pole positions and Carlos Sainz two, they lost pace in the Grands Prix.

“I know they finished behind Mercedes ultimately in the championship but they’re the ones that won a race aside from Red Bull,” Davidson said of Ferrari’s form.

“I think they always got a pretty decent car here actually. In qualifying the car looks pretty good to drive, maybe a little bit too hard on its tyres still in race trim.

“I think that’s what all the other teams have to unlock going forward from last season.”

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