Ferrari logo

    An encouraging but incomplete day

    An encouraging but incomplete day

    Abu Dhabi 24 novembre 2023

    Scuderia Ferrari did not have a perfect Friday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Carlos Sainz crashed into the barriers at turn 3, having completed just four laps in the second session. The long delay while the barrier was repaired also limited the amount of work Charles Leclerc was able to get through. The Monegasque had also entrusted his car to Robert Shwartzman in the first session, as per the regulation requiring young drivers to drive a free practice session, replacing one of the regular race drivers twice per season. Leclerc was fastest in the session run under lights, but with only just over 20 minutes of track time because of the two red flags, teams had to decide what to work on and not all of them tried a qualifying simulation.

    FP1. In the first hour on a dirty track, with high temperatures and in daylight, Robert started off with rakes fitted to the SF-23 to carry out some aero measurements, while Carlos immediately got on with fine tuning the set-up. They both went out on Soft tyres and a heavy fuel load, before tackling faster qualifying simulation laps on another set of Softs, both drivers setting their best times at this point. Carlos lapped in 1’26”676 while Robert stopped the clocks in 1’26”703 having performed particularly well throughout the session in which he was the second quickest youngster on track.

    FP2. In the second session, the more meaningful in terms of track conditions, as it started at sunset (tomorrow’s qualifying starts at 18.00), Charles was back behind the wheel of his SF-23, but having completed just four laps, Sainz ended up in the barriers bringing out the first red flag. His best time of 1’26”707 therefore does not mean much. The damage sustained on his car will be completely repaired in time for tomorrow’s final free practice. The session took a long time to restart as the barriers had to be repaired but almost immediately after the track went green again, Nico Hulkenberg hit the wall coming out of the first corner, stopping the session once again. For the restart, Charles went out on Soft tyres setting the best time of 1’24”809. He only managed a total of 16 laps.

    A lot of work to do. Both Charles and Carlos still have a lot of work to do tomorrow, although that goes for pretty much the entire field. Today, some teams focused on qualifying, while others tried to do some race preparation as well. Free practice starts at 14.30 (11.30 CET) when once again temperatures will be much higher than those for the later qualifying session.

    Charles Leclerc #16

    It was a tricky day. We only completed two laps on the short run and not many overall, but the feeling in the car was pretty good so far. The fight is on with Mercedes and they look competitive, so it won’t be easy. We will do everything we can to qualify in front of them tomorrow.

    Carlos Sainz #55

    It’s obviously not been the Friday I wanted here in Abu Dhabi. We played a bit with the set up in FP1 and I was looking forward to FP2 after making some changes to the car. Unfortunately, I went over the big bump at the entry to turn 3 and I lost the car over it, bottoming out and hitting the barriers.It was a costly mistake and I’m sorry for the mechanics for giving them extra work today. I’m sure tomorrow we will be back on track and ready to go. It looks like the field is going to be tight so we can expect an interesting Qualifying.

    Robert Shwartzman #39

    Quite a positive day on my side, as everything went smoothly and I’m generally very happy. We completed the programme we had planned and in terms of lap time I was close to Carlos who was my reference today. In terms of feeling, we had to manage the rear tyres quite a bit and the car was stiff in general, so it was a good challenge. A big thanks to the team and everyone who gave me the opportunity to drive today. It’s always amazing to drive a Formula 1 car, especially a Ferrari. I’ll be back in the car on Tuesday for an entire day of testing and I’m really looking forward to it.