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F1 | Sprint Qualifying Austria – Images from the track reveal the real problem of the Ferrari SF-24 – PHOTOS

Ferrari still struggling and in Sprint qualifying in Austria the problem of the SF-24 emerged, visible from the trackside images.

After the disappointing stage in Barcelona, Ferrari was called upon to respond on a friendlier circuit. However, the Sprint Quali response is anything but positive, with Sainz five tenths behind Verstappen and Leclerc with no chronometric reference. Is the Red Bull Ring a track that has suddenly turned its back on the Maranello Reds, or is it the Red that is not up to scratch? During Friday’s Qualifying, we were able to get a close look at the action on the track and collect some revealing images. The spot we chose for Sprint Qualifying in Austria was the passage at Turn 6-7, which revealed the Ferrari SF-24 ‘s problem.

Austria Sprint qualifying Ferrari SF-24 problem

With a cool head, about a week ago, we analysed from telemetry and visual data what could have been the SF-24’s problems. The analysis revealed a problem with Ferrari’s suspension system, which seems to have broken down after the updates introduced in Barcelona. The initial alarm spoke of a failure of the technical innovations, which would not have increased the SF-24’s aero load.

Read in italian: F1 | Qualifiche Sprint Austria – Le immagini dalla pista parlano chiaro, evidente il problema della Ferrari SF-24 – FOTO

Also in the analysis, however, we explained that the aerodynamic load arrived, perhaps even beyond expectations. What doesn’t work in Spain, and also in Austria, is the suspension system, which seems to suffer from this load on the SF-24 EVO.2. The corner we chose to watch qualifying demonstrated and validated the thesis described in our article on Monday, validated even more by the comparison with Norris’ McLaren. The transition of Turn 6-7 is a fast left-right that requires a high level of downforce, supported by a mechanical platform that is up to the task.

In the photo sequence we took in turn 6-7 we were able to compare the behaviour of the SF-24 and the MCL38. The first we want to analyse is that of the McLaren, which is currently the technical reference for the 2024 season. Norris’ MCL38 has a rather flat behaviour, which allows the aerodynamics to work at their best. When setting the trajectory, Norris is able to run a cleaner and, above all, shorter and faster line. A trajectory that is visibly narrower, as Norris manages to keep the wheels on the outside of the corner inside the track.

Austria Sprint qualifying Ferrari SF-24 problem

It’s a totally different situation with the Ferrari SF-24, which approaches turn 7 with the same exit trajectory from turn 6 as McLaren, but in the extended corner stance it suffers. It is clear from the photo sequence that the rear end widens the trajectory of the single-seater, delaying the entry to 7. This, moreover, resulted in a rather heavy excursion over the kerb, complete with sparks from the underbody. The second and third photos in the Ferrari sequence highlight the problem we identified last week, namely a single-seater ‘rolling’, rotating around the longitudinal axis of the car. A problem that, at present, does not seem to be solvable by simply raising the single-seater by limiting the load generated by the bottom.

Read also: A not very “soft” Ferrari: Sainz doesn’t give up and hopes for the Sprint

This behaviour is due to a suspension system that does not allow the SF-24 to behave flat, sending the drivers into crisis when they are looking for the limit. What further amplifies this phenomenon is the movement of the tyre carcass, in this case the softest in the range (C5). You can clearly see that the single-seater is glued to the ground, as there are no signs of the tyre slipping.

In conclusion, Ferrari needs a suspension that is stiffer in lateral load transfer, with a third element that better controls the movement of the car body. From what we gathered in the Austrian paddock, we heard that experiments on the rear suspension are underway at Ferrari. In addition, it seems that the remaining 20 per cent from Barcelona, which is due to debut at Silverstone, will contain changes to the rear suspension to correct this problem.

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