2021 Ferrari SF21

Getting Ready: Rundown Of Scuderia Ferrari’s Pre-Season Testing

Over the course of the last weekend, Scuderia Ferrari joined the other nine teams in Bahrain, where drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz took turns to test the new Ferrari SF21 around the Sakhir International Circuit.

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Photos: Ferrari

Days One And Two

2021 Ferrari SF21

Last Friday, as the light went green to signal the opening of the pitlane at 10am Bahrain time, Charles Leclerc was one of the first cars out on circuit to start the official F1 pre-season test of 2021, prior to the start of the season on the 31st of March.

As Leclerc took to the track in the morning session, he done a couple of short runs using a device called a rake on the car helped gather data for the engineers to use. Leclerc then took the SF21 on some longer runs using the harder Pirelli C2 and C3 compound, simulating tyre stints to see how the car could behave in a race scenario.

Leclerc was out on track for the majority of the session, but the team asked for him to pull off the circuit and come to a stop with ten minutes of the session remaining, due to a possible issue being spotted on the engineer’s data with the internal combustion engine.

Carlos Sainz Day One, Bahrain Test

With the car checked over and ready to return to the track after the one-hour lunch break, Sainz then made his first appearance in the afternoon session. With strong winds blowing sand across the circuit and hindering the driver's visibility, Sainz also used the C2 and C3 compounds to come within one lap short of his new teammate Leclerc, completing 57 laps while Leclerc managed 58.

Day two was more of the same for Ferrari, Sainz taking part in the morning session doing more long runs on the harder tyre compounds, while Leclerc used the end of the afternoon session to do some qualifying laps on the softest Pirelli C5 tyre. Sainz managed 56 laps on his second day in the car, while Leclerc completed a total of 73 laps.

Final Day

Carlos Sainz Day Three, Bahrain Test

Unlike other years of pre-season testing in F1, this year’s test session was narrowed down to just a three-day event, giving teams and drivers much less time to prepare for the upcoming season.

Such limited running did not phase Leclerc on the final day as a few short runs on the C3 compound tyre saw him run some consistent lap times. Then, the team ran another race simulation until the end of the session, using two stops as predicted will be needed during the opening race at the circuit at the end of the month.

With Leclerc now finished his pre-season testing with the Ferrari SF21, it was time for Sainz to conclude the testing with the afternoon session. Much like Leclerc, Sainz ran a race simulation in preparation for the race, before using the end of the session to put in some qualifying laps with the SF21.

Charles did a total of 80 laps on day three, bringing his total over the three days to 211 laps, as Carlos done a total of 79 laps, bringing his total of 192 laps around the Sakhir International Circuit. Over the three days, the Ferrari SF21 accomplished a promising 403 laps of the circuit, equivalent to 2,182 kilometres, the only main issue being Leclerc’s problem on the opening day.


Day One Laps 

Day Two Laps 

Day Three Laps 

Total Laps 

Best Lap Time 

Charles Leclerc 





1:30.486 (C3) 

Carlos Sainz  





1:29.611 (C5) 



Charles Leclerc Day Two, Bahrain Test

Both drivers sounded positive over the course of the three days of testing, and were happy to be able to complete all the necessary programmes that Ferrari had opted to do over the course of the pre-season test.

Leclerc spoke about the SF21 in comparison to the SF1000 from last season, claiming that the SF21 was a definite improvement over last season’s car, while Sainz used the session to get comfortable with the SF21.

Despite his issues with poor grip and visibility during his opening session, Sainz was enjoying the test and was working towards getting as ready as possible before his first Grand Prix in red.

The team will now return to Maranello in order to study and look over the data that was obtained over the three days of testing. Team Principal Mattia Binotto was happy with what was learned over the three days, and hopes that the team can use what they learned about the SF21 to be as ready as possible for the first race back in Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc Day Three, Bahrain Test

“I was particularly pleased with the way Charles and Carlos worked with the team and the good relationship between the two of them, which has helped Sainz fit in with his new team very quickly,” Binotto said at the end of the session.

“For our part, we have to carefully analyze all the data to be as well prepared as possible for the start of the championship. There’s a lot to do, but we all really want to do well."

Written by Cóilín Higgins.

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