Ferrari expects its SF-24 to struggle in race trim

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Ferrari endured a relatively quiet outing on the opening day at the Spanish Grand Prix. While the team expects its SF-24 to have the necessary speed over one-lap, the Scuderia fear that the race pace will put them on the backfoot on Sunday.

Apart from the usual tasks of looking at set-up, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc worked on evaluating aerodynamic updates which have been introduced ahead of schedule.

Performance over a single lap produced interesting results on both SF-24s, but home hero Sainz explained that there is still work to do to get the most out of the car in terms of race pace.

At the start of the afternoon, the two drivers were running different configurations to each other. Sainz ran the new components while Leclerc had only the latest specification of rear wing while the rest of the car was left in standard configuration.

The second session saw the two SF-24s run the same configuration, with the entire upgrade package fitted.

Commenting on his first day of running on home turf, Sainz noted: "Quite a tricky Friday, as always here in Barcelona when the sun is up and the track changes quite quickly.

"We struggled a bit in both sessions to get the right balance on the car, but I think everyone had similar issues today.

"So overall, I’m reasonably happy with the car, but we have work to do, especially race pace-wise. What I really enjoyed today was the atmosphere at the track. Thank you to all the fans for their support. I’m looking forward to putting on a good show tomorrow!

His team-mate Charles Leclerc had a tough opening session as he struggled for the optimal balance.

The Monegasque put his struggles in FP1 down to the high track temperatures. He then went on to have a more encouraging second practice, but he stressed that Ferrari will need to fine-tune the balance of the car.

"Overall, a tricky day on my side. We struggled quite a bit with the balance of the car, so set-up work will be our main focus ahead of tomorrow.

"We ran a new package in FP2, but we still have lots of work to do as I am not fully comfortable yet," concluded the Monegasque