Carlos Sainz will first try his new SF21 on March 11 in Bahrain

Ferrari is greeting the new season visibly eager to leave their disastrous 2020 behind, year in which they finished in sixth place of the Constructors’ Championship.

For 2021 they have built a car that attempts to eradicate all of the structural shortcomings that made the SF1000 one of the worst racing Ferraris in recent times.  

The Italian team has carried out its first testing sessions this week at the Fiorano Circuit, near its factory in Maranello. During five intense days (January 25-29) theirFormula One drivers, as well as several members of their Young Drivers Academy (Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong, Mick Schumacher and Robert Shwartzman), have had their first season warm-up. 

This was the opportunity this year for Charles Leclerc and his Spaniard new team-mate Carlos Sainz to get behind the wheel of an F1 car after the winter break. For the Spaniard, those tests (January 27-28) have been his maiden run wearing the red overalls. 

Testing the ground 

As a first step on the long road back to being one of the best teams on the grid, tests with the new SF21 are now to start earlier than initially planned.

As reported by Italia, a filming day has been scheduled for March 11 at the Bahrain Circuit. The Scuderia’s two official drivers should be there on the day: Leclerc and his new teammate Sainz. 

These type of advertising events, however, come with a series of restrictions. The maximum distance to be covered, for instance, cannot exceed one hundred kilometres, and teams can only use demonstration tires (of lower performance than the official ones). In any case, it will be a very valuable first contact with the 2021 car

These sessions tend to be very useful for two things. On the one hand, to test the correct operation of the car’s systems and commands. On the other, to yield the preliminary data on the behaviour of the vehicle.



Regarding the latter, teams are most interested in the correlation between the information coming from the garage tests and that coming from the track. 

The new model boasts a new engine and a remodelled aerodynamic design (rear) intended to tackle the drag issues of its predecessor. The filming day will shed some light regarding the success of those modifications.

At the same time, they will be able to see how the car responds to the 2021 regulatory changes, which were forecasted to trigger a loss of ‘downforce’.  

A key opportunity for Carlos Sainz

The filming day could not only help answer all of the above questions -at least in part- but could also be crucial for another reason. It will be a unique opportunity for the Ferrari drivers to spend more time getting to know their new car following the reduction from six to only three testing days this season. 

Each driver will therefore only have a day and a half to get familiar with their new machine before the first GP on the 28th of March at the Persian Gulf country.

It certainly seems like not enough time to get acquainted with their new vehicle, particularly for the Spaniard. Carlos still has to get to grips with Ferrari’s work systems and procedures, as well as with the car’s dashboard.

In order to ameliorate to some extent this strong disadvantage, the Spaniard will be driving the SF21 for the first time on March 11 in Bahrain, together with his teammate Charles Leclerc.

The pre-season tests

Just 24 hours after the filming day will come the start of the official preseason tests (March 12-14) at the Sakhir Circuit, where the Monegasque and the Spaniard are set to work on two different programs.

Leclerc will be evaluating the performance of the 2021 car as it compares to that of last season, while Carlos Sainz will continue with his learning of the Ferrari protocols. Two weeks later, on March 26, and the season will kick off at that very same track with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

 Image of Carlos Sainz: Scuderia Ferrari.

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