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Ferrari upgrades 'more chocolatey' for Leclerc and Sainz

The Scuderia has introduced a major upgrade package for this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

Leclerc Imola FP1
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari performance engineer Jock Clear has revealed the extensive upgrades on the cars for this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix are adding "more flavour" to an already tasty package that was unveiled at the start of the season.

The Italian team took a noticeable step forward at the start of the year, with improved tyre management and race pace - something that held the the squad back in 2023.

It allowed the Scuderia to jump McLaren in the fight behind Red Bull, asserting itself as the second-best package on the grid in the early rounds. 

However, the Woking-based outfit has been able to take the fight to Ferrari in the two most recent rounds. This culminated in a Miami Grand Prix Victory for Lando Norris, on the back of extensive McLaren updates in Florida.

Ferrari, meanwhile, has brought its own raft of improvements to Imola, something Clear describes as "more chocolatey".

"It's an organic development of the car," said Clear to media including RacingNews365. "We knew what route this car would be taking from the beginning of the season, because you choose your development path, and we're carrying on that development path.

"When Charles talks about the weaknesses of the car, obviously, we're six races in, and there are areas that we've identified. All of those areas are never going to be any worse if you just bring a car that has more potential.

"So there's always that underlying development route, and all teams will continue to go down that development route. Clearly, there are things that we can do to help the weaknesses of the car, and that's more of a setup thing.

"As I say, this development is carrying on an organic growth, it's just more chocolatey with a bit more flavour."

Targeting weaknesses through set-up

Friday at Imola proved positive for Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc topping both practice sessions. This underscored the potential of the updated SF-24, which some have contended is almost a B-spec car.

In tandem with those improvements, the team is also working on better refining the set-up, with Clear highlighting that Imola provides opportunity to address some of the car's identified weaknesses.

"The setup, I think, is what we're probably still working on, we have some developments in that area as well," he said.

"So I think we're looking to maybe move the setup around a bit, to extract more from the car and to really target those weaknesses that we've identified in the first six races. 

"But I think those two development paths carry on in parallel, always, you know, throughout the year, you're always looking to get more out of the tyre contact patch. But on an aerodynamic side, you're always going to get more out of the tyre contact patch, if you just give it more vertical load. 

"So there's the simple: we brought a more chunky aero package, but we're also always working on the setup. And I think there's things we found in the last couple of races, or there's things we've identified in the last couple races, that I think we can we could attack here."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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