LATEST F1 LIVE NEWS:Leclerc talks up Ferrari title chances after key testing findings

Charles Leclerc has said he is feeling more optimistic ahead of the new season after testing his new Ferrari in the simulator.

 

The Maranello squad had their inconsistencies last season with a difficult car that ultimately cost them second place in the constructors’ standings, losing out by three points to Mercedes.

 

Improvements made in the second half of 2023 allowed Leclerc to take four pole positions and three podiums finishes in the last six races, while team-mate Carlos Sainz claimed the only victory not by a Red Bull driver in Singapore.

 

 

Their 2024 challenger – the SF-24 – was unveiled on Tuesday and has a revised livery with dashes of white and yellow – a homage to the team’s other traditional colours as well as their 499p World Endurance Championship hypercar that won the Le Mans 24 Hours.

 

And Leclerc, won finished fifth in the drivers’ championship last season, talked up his chances of challenging for the title after finding the car easier to drive in an early simulator test.

 

Speaking on the official Ferrari website, the Monegasque driver said: “The SF-24 ought to be less sensitive and easier to drive and for us drivers that’s what you need in order to do well.

 

 

“I expect the car to be a step forward in several areas and from the impression I formed in the simulator I think we’re where we want to be.”

 

Chassis technical director Enrico Cardile added: “With the SF-24 we wanted to create a completely new platform and in fact, every area of the car has been redesigned, even if our starting point was the development direction we adopted last year and which saw us take a leap forward in terms of competitiveness in the final part of the season.

 

“We have taken on board what the drivers told us and turned those ideas into engineering reality, with the aim of giving them a car that’s easier to drive and therefore easier to get the most out of and push it to its limits.

 

“We did not set ourselves any design constraints other than that of delivering a strong and honest racing car, which can reproduce on the race track what we have seen in the wind tunnel.”

 

 

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Gideon Canice

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