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Ferrari F1, the reasons why it can win in Bahrain

Ferrari F1, the reasons why it can win in Bahrain

Speed ​​and “sweetness” with SF-24 tyres, the fierce motivations of Leclerc and Sainz who start from different points of view, Horner's case at Red Bull. What if the first GP isn't already written?


– Milan

The 2024 Formula 1 World Championship begins on March 2 with the Bahrain Grand Prix, on the same track where the only “real” pre-season testing with the 2024 cars ended on February 23. To avoid any misunderstanding: yes, Max Verstappen is the best. The favorite to take the title (or in Fernando Alonso's ironic words, “nineteen drivers who already know they won't win the World Championship”). But sport is about heightening uncertainty, even in Formula 1, a sport where technology, numbers, performance and stopwatch leave little room for theatrical coups. But with a week to go, there are many reasons why seeing Ferrari ahead of everyone in the first race of the year may not just be the stubbornness of a fundamentalist fanatic. Let's try to list them.

Ferrari speed

Has a slow car won in Formula 1? negative. So, let's start with the raw materials. The SF-24 showed very competitive, if not outstanding, times on the three days of Sakhir. He noticed that Leclerc and the outgoing Sainz were fast. How do you say? Was Verstappen faster? Oh yeah, the three-time world champion played time when he wanted to and hid when he deemed it necessary. But in the meantime, the machine is there, and the difference between the RB20 and the SF-24 is not (well, it doesn't seem like it…) one second but two/three-tenths. It's a tangible gap but it's not like crossing the ocean in a rowboat.

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Ferrari behavior

Speed ​​aside – that's what's left Case no – There is a new Ferrari quality, emphasized by Leclerc and Sainz, which goes hand in hand with what team principal Vasseur said last summer: “The 2024 car will represent a break from the previous car.” As pilots have asked, despite different points of view, the SF-24 is very drivable and does not eat tires. Decline should not be the final hurdle that condemns the Reds' experimental performance every time in 2023 (especially the performance of the more talented Leclerc). Although Verstappen showed the best pace over the Red Bull distance – we stress him, because for the now bored and unmotivated Perez, it's a completely different story – Ferrari can play it, and this is not science fiction.

Ferrari motives

Having said that Max Verstappen is a champion of competitive ferocity, Leclerc and Sainz have that enhances Psychologically stronger than ever right now. In 2022, the victories in Bahrain and Australia were somewhat exciting and surprising, but in the face of the Dutchman's return they had almost the opposite effect on the team, especially after the strategic chaos in Monaco GP. But with the start of the 2024 World Championship, relations have turned: Red Bull has everything to lose, and Ferrari – from the drivers' point of view – almost nothing. Charles has The Contract on his side, and a reactionary hunger to emerge (maybe The little prince But he has the spirit of Lancelot) and he has a mad desire, a fever, to say to the man who is coming: “Sir Lewis Hamilton, I may have won 7 World Cups but I will not be ashamed.” Carlos received a symbolic but equally painful slap in the heart when he learned that Ferrari had appointed Hamilton from 2025, but… pergiove He is not joking at all when he says that he will fight hard in 2024: for the professionalism he has always had – everywhere – and to win a team with a certain consistency from next year. This is gasoline: different from the one they put in tanks but just as capable of sparking ignition. So, Max has been warned.

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Ferrari vs Red Bull

Ferrari drivers appeared smiling in tests. Leclerc and Sainz are rivals, obviously, but they are also complicit when it's smart (that is, always except inside the cars on the track). Verstappen contributed greatly to the “destruction” of his teammate Perez: partly because of natural selection because of the results, and partly because of nature. Avert your gaze a little: Vasseur cannot sleep peacefully as no one who works at Ferrari can, due to the company's most legendary career in the history of motorsport, but he is a manager who firmly controls the team and enjoys complete legitimacy by results and ownership; Horner is a sports management champion but his back is against the wall over an issue of inappropriate behavior towards a Red Bull employee, so if he's not already with a dismissal notice in hand, he's certainly illegal and being pressured by the same company who gave him the paycheck. And given what we saw on the track, there doesn't seem to be any consequences to the RB20's performance compared to the SF-24. But in the long term?

Ferrari on the flying lap

Let's try the simulation, since in Formula 1 pretty much everything is simulated before judging the track. On the weekend in Bahrain, Leclerc (most likely Sainz) finds perfect harmony on the flying lap and takes the lead over Verstappen: Well, Max did a fantastic series of 17 laps on race pace in testing, detecting deviations of a tenth at most in the race. turn. But then in racing it's not the same as in testing. Do you remember 2022?

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