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Why F1 upgrade stumbles have become twice as costly

If there is one element that characterises Formula 1’s current era, it may well be the unpredictable form curves that fluctuate more than they did before 2022.

We have seen teams make giant performances leaps over the past few winters and throughout seasons, including McLaren, RB and Aston Martin.

But on the flipside, some teams have also been knocked back by upgrades that didn’t deliver or induced secondary issues on the car.

Two of the aforementioned teams, Aston Martin and RB, are among the squads that have seen their progress stunted by recent development setbacks.

Ferrari, which also made impressive race pace gains compared to 2023, has had to take its most recent batch of upgrades off its SF-24 because it induced bouncing in high-speed corners and has reverted to a specification from two months ago.

«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,» said Carlos Sainz. «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.»

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Erik Junius

RB similarly had to take most of its Barcelona upgrades off, including the floor, and took a hit in the form table as a result.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin’s relative lack of progress has in recent weeks has also seen it slip down the order, leading to a frustrated Fernando Alonso.

Why are teams struggling with upgrades?

It is no news that these ground-effect dominant cars have been hard beasts to tame. Just ask Mercedes, which has been in the doldrums for two years before finally finding the right answers to make its cars regular challengers rather than «divas» that were unpredictable to drive.

With these cars, increasing performance is not as easy as just whacking aerodynamic load on and pray for the best, hoping downforce will solve most of the handling issues of the car.

More than ever, developing a current car is a game of compromises, with cars that perform well in high-speed corners often paying the price in low-speed corners and vice versa.

Developing a car that is well balanced across various corner types and speed is considered the holy grail, and while a lot of attention has gone to the floor area, the front wing and suspension set-up all play a part in having a car that has a wider operating window.

The low and stiff rides of these cars have also made bumps and kerbs a bigger factor. The simulation tools teams use are extremely advanced, but even those can’t simulate every variable a real-world environment throws at a car.

Alpine simulator

Alpine simulator

Photo by: Alpine

We have seen designers being taken for a spin by 2022’s crippling porpoising issues and some teams, like Ferrari, have seen bouncing return as an unwanted side-effect of a new floor design. Even Red Bull, which dominated the past two championships, still has a car that struggles for performance over the bumps, and that issue has bitten it hard on circuits like Singapore and Monaco.

«The correlation on the downforce is okay, but it is still a question mark for everybody,» said Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur. «It is quite difficult to have correlation because you don’t have bouncing in the wind tunnel. You can have more bouncing with this part than another one but to know if it will have a negative impact on performance is another story.»

An additional factor is the ever narrower scope of upgrades teams are now chasing midway through the third year of stable regulations. The time of finding tenths of a second with each upgrade is over. As performance converges and the development curves have flattened out, we are talking about parts that produce half a tenth here and there. The smaller the gains, the harder it is to validate them and filter through the noise.

Why are upgrade misses more costly now?

The complexity of these cars is such that when an update doesn’t deliver or leads a team up the wrong path, it takes time to analyse as you can’t solve a problem you don’t understand. Not only does it rob a team of expected performance gains its rivals do manage to make, but it also delays the next upgrades as teams might have to re-think months of work and explore different direction.

«It’s a double negative effect,» RB team principal Laurent Mekies told Autosport. «Not only did you not pocket the advantage you wanted, but you also have to delay the next one until you actually understand what’s going on.»

Another reason why the plight of Ferrari, Aston and RB has been so pronounced is also a factor of how much the grid has closed up. At the Austrian Grand Prix a mere 0.798s covered the entire 20-car grid in Q1, and in Canada 0.021s was the difference between pole and the second row.

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR24, Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01, Zhou Guanyu, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, Logan Sargeant, Williams FW46, Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR24, Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01, Zhou Guanyu, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, Logan Sargeant, Williams FW46, Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Against these tiny margins, it doesn’t take much for a less than optimal upgrade to set a team back many positions. RB’s drop was quite dramatic as its car was actually slower with its Barcelona upgrades than it was without it. But even with less extreme examples, Alonso just missed the Q3 cut-off in Barcelona by a whisker, with RB’s Daniel Ricciardo befalling the same fate in Austria.

It’s therefore also important not to overreact to these fluctuations, as two or three tenths can be the difference between looking like a genius or a village idiot, neither of which is fair.

But when teams do get it right, fast-tracking an update one or two races earlier can be a huge boost even if the performance gain is relatively small.

«It’s a time to market business,» said Mekies. «Last minute, not taking the time to compare because you just want to move on and go fast.

«Sometimes you fall and that’s exactly what happened in Barcelona. We put the upgrade on both cars and it was very difficult to understand how to react, and then we took the time to pause in Austria to make the right comparisons, even though it was a sprint weekend.

«Of course, you will say: ‘Why don’t you do [the back-to-back test] all the time? Why you don’t take all the time you need?’ Because it’s a time to market business and if you are faster than the other guys with the same update, you will actually get more out of them.

«But it’s good for the team to have that high-risk mindset. It’s a highly competitive business and that’s what we want the company to do.»

Laurent Mekies, Team Principal, RB F1 Team, Jonathan Eddolls, Head of Trackside Engineering RB F1 Team

Laurent Mekies, Team Principal, RB F1 Team, Jonathan Eddolls, Head of Trackside Engineering RB F1 Team

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Is short-term pain the way out?

In Ferrari’s case, it conducted those back-to-back experiments in British Grand Prix free practice. While there was some short-term pain as it compromised the weekend of Sainz and Charles Leclerc, Vasseur hoped there would be a long-term gain as the Scuderia now understands what it needs to do.

«It is very difficult as a team to compromise or sacrifice Friday sessions, because it means you put yourself in a tough situation, but it was the right call to do it,» said Vasseur.

«It is difficult to say after the [poor] result but we did a step forward. We have a better understanding of the situation on Sunday evening than on Friday morning. This is encouraging for the rest of the season.»

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Le Mans win a catalyst for Ferrari’s inaugural Hypercar upgrade

Ferrari’s victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours was one of the factors behind the early introduction of the first evo joker upgrade of its 499P for Interlagos this weekend.

The Italian manufacturer explained that it brought the revision focussed on rear brake cooling of its Le Mans Hypercar to the Brazilian round of the World Endurance Championship in order to prepare for the latter rounds of the series when there will be a premium on braking efficiency, most specifically Bahrain in November.

“We decided considering the good results we had in Le Mans  and the fact that we are back fighting for the championship that it could be an idea [to introduce it for this weekend] given that we were ready to start with this modification immediately after Le Mans,” said Ferrari sportscar racing technical director Ferdinando Cannizzo.

“As long as we had this improvement in the pocket, why not start directly? This will give us the opportunity to get familiar with this modification — we need to re-adjust.”

“This is one of the reasons why we said, yes we come here to gain experience for when we will go to race on tracks that are really stressful for brakes.”

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Ferrari opted not to employ one of the five evo jokers allowed to it during the initial five-year lifecycle of the 499P at the start of the current campaign, which is the car’s second season. It then said at Le Mans this year that it would bring an update either before the end of this season or for the start of the next.

Cannizzo revealed that there were two reasons why Ferrari never considered running it at Le Mans where Antonio Fuoco, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina notched up the 499P’s second victory in a row at the French enduro.

The first was that Le Mans is not, Cannizzo said, “stressful for the brakes” and the second was that the rule makers – the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest – demanded that it be on the 499P for two WEC rounds beforehand in order for its effect to be assessed for the Balance of Performance.

That would have meant blooding the modification at the Imola WEC round in April, which would have been too early in the development of the upgrade.

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Antonio Giovinazzi

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Antonio Giovinazzi

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The modification of the brake cooling at the rear has been undertaken “so not as to give us a compromise in the set-up choice”, explained Cannizzo. He added that he did “not expect any big changes in performance” as a result.

Changing the brake cooling package meant Ferrari had to rebalance the aerodynamics of the 499P to maintain its position within the aero performance window laid down in the LMH regulations.

Cannizzo confirmed that the underfloor had been changed as a result and that the upper body surfaces “have been touched a bit”.

The most obvious visual difference on the updated car is the revisions to the front diveplanes or flicks.

Cannizzo revealed that Ferrari was evaluating further performance upgrades, which are subject to the approval of the FIA and the ACO, but would not be drawn on any timeline for their introduction.

“We are very prudent, cautious about changing things on the car,” he said. “But this is not impeding us from keeping working and trying to find improvements.

“This work is going on, but when we will arrive with something new I do not know.”

Victory in the double-points Le Mans WEC round propelled Fuoco, Nielsen and Molina from fifth to second in the drivers’ championship. They now lie nine points behind Porsche trio Laurens Vanthoor, Kevin Estre and Andre Lotterer.

Ferrari is also second in the manufacturers’ classification.

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Ferrari reveals first-ever updates to Le Mans-winning Hypercar

Ferrari has revealed its first performance updates for its 499P Le Mans Hypercar ahead of this weekend’s Interlagos round of the World Endurance Championship.

The Scuderia has embarked on a redesign of the brake cooling ducts, aimed at improving cooling efficiency, and made some minor aerodynamic modifications as part of the first package of upgrades since the car made its debut last season.

Ferdinando Cannizzo, Head of Endurance Race Cars, explains that Ferrari does not anticipate it will result in improved lap times for the 499P that won the Le Mans 24 Hours last month, but will allow for «greater versatility and easier adaptation of the car on circuits where braking performance is more demanding and decisive».

«Despite the car’s excellent performance in the 2023 season, we experienced limitations with brake cooling,» he said.

«Therefore, we defined and developed a new cooling duct design in the wind tunnel and on the track to change the flow distribution and deliver greater efficiency.

«The modification impacted the balance of the 499P, which we restored to the desired value by adjusting other areas of the car.

«Specifically, we modified the underbody, adjusted the heights of some ‘gurney flaps’, and introduced a ‘flick’ under the front headlights.

«The upgrade has allowed us to maintain the 499P’s position within the ‘performance window’ specified by the technical regulations.»

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: Emanuele Clivati | AG Photo

Manufacturers are permitted to use five evo jokers over the lifespan of a LMH or LMDh prototype, and Cannizzo had remarked at Le Mans prior to the marque’s second win at the WEC blue riband with the 449P that it had planned to introduce its first «this year or next year».

Antonio Fuoco, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina’s victory at Le Mans has lifted them to second in the Hypercar standings, nine points behind Penske Porsche Motorsport drivers Andre Lotterer, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor in the 963 LMDh, while Ferrari is the same margin behind Porsche in the Hypercar manufacturers’ classification.

James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Antonio Giovinazzi are 51 points back from the PPM crew in sixth.

Ferrari has not tested at Interlagos prior to the track’s first outing as part of the WEC calendar since 2014, but has regained the engine power it lost ahead of Le Mans with a 1.7% reduction in maximum power above 250km/h (155mph) in the Balance of Performance.

The 6 Hours of Sao Paulo meeting will begin with first practice at 10.45am local time on Friday.

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Leclerc in «worse than a nightmare» after failed British GP intermediate call

Charles Leclerc labelled his current Formula 1 hardships as «worse than a nightmare», as an early call for intermediate tyres at the British Grand Prix cost him any chance of scoring points.

The Monegasque driver was running seventh in the opening third of the Silverstone race having passed Lance Stroll into Stowe on lap 13, and was looking to make greater strides up the order before light rain began to fall over the Northamptonshire circuit.

Although grip was at a premium, with a handful of drivers getting caught out by the slippery conditions, most did not feel the need to pit for intermediates. However, Ferrari called Leclerc in at the end of lap 19 to take the grooved compound for the lower-grip conditions.

He rejoined the circuit ahead of Valtteri Bottas, but was soon passed by the Finn as it became patently clear that the intermediate was not the tyre to be on, and continued to lose time behind the Sauber. When the heavier rain did hit, Leclerc had to stop again as his initial set were already heavily worn.

«[It was] clearly the wrong [strategy]. I’ll look back into it. Obviously, with the decision, with the message I got and the information I had in the car, I felt like it was the right one,» Leclerc explained.

«It was raining quite a lot in Turn 15. I was told that in this lap, the rain was going to be very heavy, so I stopped to try and anticipate.

«However, the rain came eight or nine laps later. That was obviously the end of our race from that moment onwards. Very frustrating, another weekend to forget, and it starts to be a lot.

«It’s very hard [period]. I don’t really have the words to explain it, but it’s been four races that it’s been worse than a nightmare. I hope we can come back soon.»

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Leclerc added that it was difficult to view the opening laps to his race as positive given the outcome, and wanted to review the intermediate call with the team.

He added that the team was in a «tricky situation» after rolling back on its Barcelona upgrade to quell the high-speed corner bouncing, and hoped to find a resolution after coming across a more consistent balance at Silverstone.

«It’s really difficult to look at positives on days like this. I just want to go back with the team, that we analyse the way we are making those decisions on my side, and why we were on the wrong side today,» he said.

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«It’s a tricky situation that we’re in at the moment. The upgrades brought us the numbers that we were expecting but also brought us quite a lot of bouncing in the high-speed.

«For a track like this we decided that it was probably better having a bit less performance but having more consistency, and I think that was the right choice.

«Going forward, we’ll analyse all the data we had until now with the two packages and try to understand if there’s anything we haven’t understood yet.

«The bouncing was [better], so the consistency was better.»

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Sainz learning to trust ‘very few’ people in F1 paddock over 2025 talks

Carlos Sainz reckons talks with other teams over his future have taught him how «tough» Formula 1’s landscape can be, and to trust ‘very few’ people in the paddock.

Although Sainz stated at the Barcelona round that he hoped to have a resolution on his F1 future ‘very soon’, he noted that a triple-header was not the time to exercise clarity of thought about his movements for 2025.

He says that in taking his time, he has been able to learn a lot more about the other teams on the grid, with regard to their future plans and the current situation at each one.

The Spaniard has spent a long period of time being linked with Sauber and Williams, although Alpine is understood to have tabled a late offer.

Conversely, he felt that it was often difficult to believe certain standpoints within negotiations over his future, adding that there were few people in the paddock that he was able to fully trust.

«First of all, the situation that I’ve been in this year has made me learn a lot about Formula 1 in general,» Sainz explained.

«By talking to teams it has kind of shown me how tough this sport is and how little sometimes you have to believe what people say at the beginning of negotiations, conversations, and mainly people.

«Also to trust very little people in the paddock because it’s really a very political sport.

«There’s a lot of things like this involved, and it’s made me understand it’s a very tough sport in that sense and understand a better picture of Formula 1 without going too much into detail.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Ferrari

«Apart from the other teams, obviously I’ve learned a lot in which position they are in and the teams that I am potentially moving to next year, I’ve obviously dug in a lot into the state that they are and the situation that there is.

«And yeah, it’s also made me have probably a better understanding of how Formula 1 each team is and where they are.»

He added that it was difficult not to get carried away with recent results among some of his options, and stated that this was something that he was trying not to do as he maps out his future in the championship.

Instead, he wishes to maintain a level of objectivity over a team’s future plans and try to focus on the longer-term projects being offered to him.

«I’m doing the exercise within myself and my team to really try to avoid looking at each race performance of each team and just focus on the project and the feeling that I get by talking to each team and obviously looking at the contracts.

«I agree, it’s not easy because sometimes you, the competitive spirit, you just try and see who is faster, but I don’t think the last race of each team is also a representative point of where they’re going to be in the next couple of years.»

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Ferrari eyes joker upgrades to Le Mans-winning 499P

Ferrari is eyeing a performance upgrade of its Le Mans 24 Hours-winning 499P that could come on stream before the end of this year’s World Endurance Championship. 

Ferdinando Cannizzo, technical director of Ferrari’s sportscar operations, stated before and after it retained its Le Mans crown last weekend that the Italian manufacturer is looking to exploit the evo joker rules that govern car development in the Hypercar class. 

He explained that no timeline has been set for what remains an unspecified revision to the Ferrari Le Mans Hypercar and that it might come as late as the start of next season. 

“We are thinking about introducing a joker this year or next year,” Cannizzo said between the Le Mans Test Day and the start of running during race week. 

“We haven’t made any decision yet, but we are further developing this joker because we’ve identified areas for improvement.”

After the race, Cannizzo conceded that Toyota, with which it battled for the victory last weekend, was the faster car in wet and mixed conditions but that the Ferrari “was more competitive in the dry”. 

“We know the areas we would like to improve,” he said. 

“We need to be much more competitive in all conditions —  this race is a perfect lesson for us.”

Race winner #50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Race winner #50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: Emanuele Clivati | AG Photo

Ferrari has so far yet to use one of the five evo jokers performance upgrades allowed to a manufacturer over the lifespan of a LMH or LMDh prototype. 

It stated at the end of last year that it was evaluating introducing one for 2024, but confirmed ahead of the season-opener in Qatar in March that it had opted against bringing one on stream. 

Cannizzo stated pre-Qatar that it was important that Ferrari first “exploit the potential of the base car”  

“Before we apply for any jokers we want to understand the ultimate performance of our car,” he said.

A manufacturer must apply to the WEC rule makers, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, to be able to take one of the evo jokers available to it. 

The take-up of evo jokers is not in the public domain and is not shared by the FIA and the ACO with the manufacturers. 

It is not known, for example, how many were used by Toyota for its revisions to the GR010 HYBRID LMH for the 2022 and ’23 seasons or by Peugeot for its reworking of the 9X8 LMH for ’23 and then this year.

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Ferrari’s «very weak» F1 Canadian GP weekend a one-off

The Spaniard spent much of the grand prix struggling with pace and could not crack the top 10, and his chances were further dented when he made contact with Alex Albon at Turn 6 after spinning to put the Williams driver out.

Sainz felt that he had to «take risks» to make progress in the slick-tyre phase of the race, which he felt was likely responsible for his Turn 6 strife, as he felt the competitiveness swing slightly in his favour as the circuit started to dry.

He felt that Ferrari’s struggles in Canada would be a «one-off», borne out of an inability to hit the ground running by preparing the tyres correctly in qualifying.

«It was one of those races where the pace never clicked. We had some damage in the car from a couple of contacts that we had during that crazy race but there was never really enough pace today to make any overtakes.

«Only when we went on slicks there towards the end of a race I started to feel there was maybe potential for some points, and I was starting to become a bit quicker.

«I was just trying to take some risks to overtake people in the DRS trains to try and be close in sector two, probably touched maybe the wet.

«I don’t know. It’s a very strange way that I lost it there in mid-corner and ended our race. It was a very weak, very disappointing weekend for the whole team because we never seemed to find a good pace.»

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

«I think Canada was a bit of a one-off, a bit of a special one and we need to understand what happened as a team. There was clearly something the others were doing in qualifying with the tyres to prep them better.»

Charles Leclerc had to cope with a power unit issue throughout the race, which he was initially told was costing him about half a second in the straights, and he had to change a number of settings on his steering wheel throughout to try to alleviate the problem.

After sinking down the field, Ferrari attempted to take a gamble and put him on fresh hard tyres as the circuit was drying from the earlier rainfall, but this did not pay off when a rain shower emerged later on in the grand prix.

«I don’t know what happened. At first, I think [I was losing] six tenths, but then some laps It was 1.2, sometimes it was 1.5, sometimes it was one second,» the Monegasque said

«Every time I was going on power, I didn’t know what I will get — and that was, first of all, very difficult to drive, very frustrating because in the straight, I would get overtaken by everybody.

«In the first part of the race, I think we did quite a good job managing that. And because we were in wet conditions, we could recover in corners, I was still believing we could finish in points.

«But then as soon as it dried up, I was a sitting duck in the straights. [The long pitstop] was annoying. But at the end, that was the best we could do at that point. I knew we would finish out to the points whatever happened with that issue. So we had to try something with the slicks.»

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Ferrari could switch to Red Bull’s F1 suspension concept for Hamilton’s arrival

And in particular it could finally go down the route that world champion Red Bull has put to good use of having a pull-rod front suspension concept.

Ferrari has already managed to make significant progress this year with its SF-24, winning races and finding itself at a centre of a three-way fight with Red Bull and McLaren that could yet be for title glory.

But as teams get close to the limit of what is possible with the current rules set, it is getting ever harder to find the benefits that can make a difference in its battle for success.

A major development package it brought to the Imola Grand Prix delivered some good gains, while the next aero package is set for the British GP – having originally been scheduled for Hungary.

In the meantime, two more rear wings appear, after the high-load one that was run at Monaco. There will be a low drag version in Canada and then one that is best suited to medium speed circuits from Spain.

But the way that Ferrari is attacking improvements is changing, as team principal Fred Vasseur admitted this week that gains were much harder to realise.

“With the cost cap and the current regulation, you have to manage both sides and we will bring upgrades when we have something to bring,” he said.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“What you have to keep in mind is that you have a kind of convergence of performance and the development rate is much lower than it was two years ago. It means that each time that someone is bringing an upgrade, and I think it’s true for us, but it’s true for everybody, the gain is smaller than it was two years ago, and this is normal.”

The diminishing returns, and Ferrari’s desire not to make the most of the momentum the team is getting now, has fuelled some talk that Ferrari could be ready to be more aggressive with changes to its 2025 car than it might perhaps have been expected to months ago.

Work has already begun on next year’s challenger, with Vasseur stating that there were three current projects underway at Maranello.

“Part of the team is working on the next updates that we will see during this season, and another is already focused on next year’s single-seater,” he said. “We have already given the go-ahead to the 2025 car. Furthermore, work has already started some time ago on the 2026 power unit. With regards the chassis and aerodynamics, we can hypothesize a few concepts but nothing more given that there are no regulations yet.”

Speculation about the 2025 car has suggested that Ferrari could be willing to make some big changes with it, rather than go for a straight evolution of the SF-24 so that it did not waste any resources for the 2026 rules.

Sources have suggested that Ferrari’s designers have understood some key aspects that would deliver gains for the 2025 car and that may make a big difference in that tight fight with Red Bull and McLaren.

One area of interest is that, after years of doing its own thing, Ferrari could be poised for a switch to pull-rod front suspension – with an idea of getting ahead of the game on this aspect considering it would likely make the switch in 2026 anyway.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Red Bull and McLaren already have this configuration, with the design clearly having aerodynamic advantages in improving airflow around the front of the car and critically for the venturi tunnels underneath.

Revising the suspension in such a way would require an all-new chassis, as there would be the need for new attachments to the suspension arms and movement of the internal mechanisms.

Any decision to change suspension could also open the door for a change of driver position too, which could help improve weight distribution as the squad seeks to find gains in any area it can.

Ferrari’s potential move towards a more Red Bull style of front suspension comes as the team continues its efforts to lure Adrian Newey on board to help provide input for its 2026 car, once he is released from his current contract at the start of next year.

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This year, Ferrari is alone in running a pull-rod rear suspension (customer team Haas takes its parts too), but is convinced there are no significant gains from having the push-rod concept other teams have in this area of the car.

Speaking earlier this year about why it did not copy other teams, Ferrari technical director Enrico Cardile said: “In reality, our rear suspension is a bit different in terms of top and lower wishbone distribution compared to a Red Bull one, to mention one team.

“We recorded good aero results moving towards this direction and when moving from pull-rod to push-rod, we didn’t measure a big advantage to justify some compromise in terms of weight or compliance. So, from there, we evolved our suspension, keeping the same layout.”

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Ferrari technical director targeted by Aston Martin for F1 switch

With Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll continuing his push to turn the Silverstone-based squad into winners, Cardile has emerged as one of his outfit’s key targets to bolster its technical structure.

As the current head of Ferrari’s chassis and aerodynamics department, Cardile has played an important role in the development of the team’s recent challengers since joining the F1 operation from its Gran Turismo programme in 2016.

His current Ferrari SF-24 has proven to be a race-winner this season, with Charles Leclerc taking victory in last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, and Cardile’s talents appearing to have brought him to the attention of rival squads.

Aston Martin has clear ambitions and, as revealed recently, Stroll has made a personal effort to try to lure Red Bull’s outgoing chief technical officer Adrian Newey to join.

But, with Newey believed to be weighing up a possible move to Ferrari now that he has decided to leave Red Bull, it has emerged that an effort is underway by Aston Martin to tempt Cardile as there could be an opportunity if he is unsettled by the prospect of his role being diminished.

While Newey would be unlikely to do anything other than be a super consultant for Ferrari as it prepares its 2026 car, his high-profile status could end up overshadowing the efforts of those within Maranello who have helped guide its recent push to the front.

Newey is known to want to take his time before deciding his next step in F1, with team principal Fred Vasseur not revealing much about the potential chances of signing the design legend.

Speaking to Italian media this week, Vasseur said the most important thing for him was ensuring stability of his current staff, rather than worrying about what might happen in the future.

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Asked if he was talking to Newey, Vasseur said: “I speak to everybody in the paddock when we meet, because we are well educated! On this point, I don’t want to make any comment because every single answer could be interpreted.

“The most important [thing] is the stability of the team. As I said before, we are doing a good job. We are going in the right direction.

“The most important for me is the stability of the group much more than individuals. I am really pleased with the current situation.”

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