Ferrari 2024: Leclerc and Sainz expected to renew contracts

Jaden Diaz
29 Nov, 2023

No one has come close to Max Verstappen in 2023 – not since Sergio Perez beat him in Baku. Only Ferrari interrupted the Dutchman’s relentless winning streak. In Singapore, Red Bull went in the wrong direction with its setup. Only a completely wrong set-up prevented the Milton Keynes team from winning all the races in 2023.

This level of dominance is historic in F1. The McLarens of Senna and Prost, or the Ferraris of Schumacher and Barrichello, only left crumbs for the rest of the group. Mercedes – more recently – experienced similar levels of dominance in 2020.

The opponents are called to a prohibitive effort to fight with Verstappen at the start of the 2024 world championship. The most likely competitors appear to be Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren in a narrow field, as long as the technical offices do not make mistakes in the evolution of the projects.

At the same time, they must hope for some mistake by Newey’s designers, something difficult to hypothesise, at least on paper. The RB19 ends 2023 with the advantage of 2 development packages on which to be able to develop other solutions kept in the pipeline.

The technical regulations do not change, and neither do the tyres, which could benefit the competition. There are no guarantees that it will happen, although there are hopes for a less predictable 2024.

With his relatively easy victory in Abu Dhabi, Max Verstappen also took third place in the all-time race winners’ standings, behind only Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari make good progress post-Suzuka upgrades

The Abu Dhabi weekend is usually a preview of what we might see 100 days later. Ferrari’s was bittersweet. Sainz compromised his hopes with the accident in free practice; some of the parts replaced on the SF-23 took away performance and reliability

Sainz has certainly had some troubles in the last few races, in contrast to a solid season. Leclerc’s growth was dictated by better set-up options, gradually bringing him closer to his old habits.

It is no coincidence that Vasseur applauded both Sainz for his performance and the great victory in Asia and the Monegasque for his important reaction after Singapore. Ferrari has finished ahead of Mercedes in the last 9 out of 10 races and would clearly have grabbed second place in the constructors’ championship without a couple of late-season hiccups.

The 676 model must progress: Work continues to generate the greatest potential benefit

The 2024 model for Ferrari is racing through the tunnel. The engineers changed some parts of the ‘first look’ to modify the areas that have caused problems.

It is said that the rear end will be very different from the SF-23, and so will the front-wing design. The lower cone is now lowered, and the conveyors will be completely redesigned to dispose of a different air volume through the channels.

Collapsing the porpoising with each height increases the vehicle’s operability by several tenths (as the Red Bull does).

All F1 technicians agree that an extended operational window is more useful than particularly extreme solutions. The regulation won’t change and has provided more reliable data to the settebello led by Technical Director Enrico Cardile, especially since they changed the design in Barcelona.

From what we have learned, the new update is providing improvements in terms of data that is transferred to the simulator. The car is much better on the simulator than looking at the individual data. The drivers agree on this.

It’s a little early to know, but in the ideal world, the target is to allow drivers to be more comfortable and aggressive without eating up the tyres or sacrificing qualifying.

To do this, Ferrari must obtain a stable load in fast corners and a solid front end in long distances. Compared to the modest changes to the 2022 chassis, the chassis for next year is largely revised.

Some parts will not change much for financial reasons, such as the triangular roll-up (air-scoop inlet), which guarantees a certain efficiency and meets the cooling requirements. The suspension design will change to serve aerodynamics while maintaining the front push-rod and rear pull-rod.

Rumours emerge regarding the arrival of new engineers

After the early-season exit of David Sanchez – who will take up the role of performance manager at McLaren in January – Vasseur has long since signed his compatriot Loïc Serra, who should arrive at Maranello in July 2024.

Another high-profile figure is expected to join, but not before January 2025.

Despite some rumours, Ruth Buscombe – a strategic engineer leaving Sauber – is not expected to join Ferrari, while Xavi Marcos’ position is currently not at risk despite some pressure.

Ferrari’s engine improves in terms of power and reliability

The SF-23 was not immune to failures, mostly of an electronic nature. Ferrari’s power unit engineers, who have long been 100% dedicated to the 2026 development, can declare themselves satisfied with the progress made with the current PU.

The power curve was available throughout the life of the power unit without major deficits, especially after the Monza software token, which helped hybrid management. 2023 confirms that the horsepower is no longer lacking.

Ferrari has consistently shown 10 km/h more speed compared to 2022.

Ferrari

From what we can see, Ferrari has the best internal combustion engine (ICE), and Honda has the best electrical efficiency, slightly ahead of Mercedes, with Renault bringing up the rear.

The good news this season – obviously with a view to 2024 – is that the internal combustion engine (ICE) failures suffered in 2022 haven’t happened since. Ferrari completed this year with four engines in 22 races.

Driver contract negotiations have begun

It is no secret that more in-depth contract talks have begun between Ferrari, Leclerc and Sainz. So far, things are developing positively.

Vasseur himself signalled winter as the most suitable period for discussion. Although in some episodes on the track, it was a strong year between the two Ferrari drivers.

Contract discussions will managed personally by Vassuer. Barring unlikely surprises, we should see Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz sign contract extensions until 2026.

Author: Giuliano Duchessa
Co-Author: Rosario Giuliana

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