Friday in the Netherlands was different to usual for Scuderia Ferrari, both in terms of its work programmed and its driver line-up. Robert Schwartzman was on the roster today, alongside Charles Leclerc and Carlos Saenz, driving the Spaniard’s car in what is the first of his two outings this season. As for the programmed, apart from working on the set-up of the SF-23, there were a large number of tests aimed at gathering data that will come in useful later in the season.

FP1. Leclerc and Schwartzman started the first session on Hard tires, pitting twice to make adjustments and carrying out comparative tests. In the second part of the session, both SF-23s were fitted with Medium tires, the drivers setting their best times of 1’13”519 for Charles (who completed 26 laps) and 1’14”803 for Robert (25 laps).

FP2. Charles and Carlos went out first on Medium tires, running until the red flag triggered by the incident involving Oscar Piastre and Daniel Ricciardi. At the restart, they switched to Soft tyros with which they set their best times. Charles posted a 1’11”915, Carlos a 1’12”093. Towards the end of the hour, both drivers worked in race configuration. Leclerc completed 30 laps and Carlos did 31.
Work to do. There is much to do in preparation for tomorrow, especially when it comes to the drivers being able to do a quick flying lap. The third and final free practice session, which starts at 11.30 CET, will see the team work on set-up and finding the best compromise between qualifying and race trim. Starting grid positions will come down to hundredths of a second and the slightest detail will make the difference. The possibility of rain could also play an important role.

Charles Leclerc #16

It was a difficult day for us overall. The field seems to be very tight here and there is still quite a lot of pace to be gained, especially on the qualifying runs. We will work hard on that overnight.
The weather forecast for tomorrow predicts rain, so that’s something we will have to adapt to.

Carlos Sainz #55

Overall it was quite a tricky Friday for the team and missing FP1 is obviously never ideal.
I got up to speed quickly in FP2 but it’s true that this weekend we seem to be struggling for pace and balance overall. This circuit at the moment is not suiting us very well but we’ll work to make a good step forward for tomorrow.

Robert Shwartzman #39

Our focus for FP1 was to test some aero balance solutions. I’m happy with how I managed to work with the car, because everyone expected it to be challenging. I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t a performance run and the team briefed me about the programmed and what to expect in advance. I did most of the laps in race mode to see how the car performs lap by lap. We also completed a practice start, which was quite good. It has been a really good experience and the track is super challenging. I have never driven here with the current configuration and the banking. It was also my first experience in the SF-23. I found it interesting and fun. It was a tough session, but we completed it well and collected some data.
The car felt quite similar to the way it does in the simulator. It is important for us to understand that relationship, in order to improve the current car and work on next year’s one.
I’d like to thank Scuderia Ferrari again for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to my next outing later this season.

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