Lewis Hamilton: Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur says signing ‘huge opportunity’ for team

Ferrari have designed their new car with the aim of making it easier and more predictable to drive so the drivers can more effectively extract its maximum performance.

Leclerc said: “The drivability of the 2023 car was extremely sensitive to wind-direction changes and to outside conditions changing and that made it very difficult to extract the most out of the car.

“There has been a lot of work on that and we have done a significant step forward based on the on the simulator. Based on reality, it is too early to say.”

Leclerc added that last season had provided important lessons for Ferrari as they worked hard to overcome the car’s deficits.

“If you look at it as a whole, it has been a very good reaction from the team, especially the second part of the season has been very good, the momentum, of the team and the decisions we took in the second half of the season were all very good and brought us closer and closer to Red Bull,” he said.

“Our goal is to start on similar basis to next year and then have the same progress and put pressure on Red Bull as soon as possible.”

Ferrari won only one race last year, with Sainz in Singapore, as Red Bull won 21 of the 22 grands prix. But Leclerc said their ambitions were set much higher this season.

“Two or three victories is not my target,” Leclerc said. “No, it’s not enough. I want to win as much as possible.

“We will do the count at the end of the year and after the first race understand how competitive we are.”

Chassis technical director Enrico Cardile said the 2024 car was a “completely new platform” and that “every area of the car has been redesigned”.

“We worked with very challenging targets in terms of lap time,” Cardile said. “We wanted to achieve a certain lap-time improvement to provide our drivers a car nice to drive in every conditions.

“The target was to catch red bull; up. If we have been successful, in a few days we will know.”

The team has continued its pursuit of the design direction pioneered by Red Bull after switching to it early last season.

Early pictures released by Ferrari, which are likely to disguise key design areas of the car that the team want to keep under wraps for as long as possible, show redesigned nose and front wing and extensively reshaped bodywork as the team seek to find the consistent, predictable downforce that was often elusive for them last year.

However, the sidepod undercut, one of the crucial defining factors in aerodynamic performance, is notably not as pronounced as on the Red Bull.

Cardile said Ferrari had changed its rear wing philosophy with the aim of increasing its straight-line speed, a major strength of the Red Bull in the past two years.

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