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F1 testing: Ferrari forced to change floor on Charles Leclerc's car after loose drain cover disrupts session

Ferrari were forced to change the floor on Charles Leclerc's floor after a loose drain cover damaged the Sf-24; the morning session one the second day of testing was cut short by more than an hour; watch Thursday's extended afternoon session live on Sky Sports F1

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The first red flag of 2024 pre-season testing was thrown as a drain cover came loose at Turn 11 of the Bahrain International Circuit.

The morning session on the second day of Formula 1 pre-season testing was cut short after a loose drain cover on track damaged Charles Leclerc's Ferrari.

An hour and 48 minutes of the opening four-hour session on the second of three testing days remained when a red flag was thrown due to the issue on the kerb at the approach to Turn 11 at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Amid initial mystery as track staff congregated at the corner, replays would show debris flying up as Leclerc's Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes drove over the loose drain cover.

Almost 40 minutes passed before it was confirmed the session would not resume, and the afternoon session would be extended by an hour to make up for some of the lost time.

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Marshalls and race control work to fix a loose drain cover during the Pre-Season Test at Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday February 22, 2024 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Simon Galloway / LAT Images)
Image: Repairs were required at the Bahrain International Circuit

Ferrari later confirmed a change to the floor of Leclerc's car had been required, while Hamilton escaped without damage, with the debris likely to have come from his tyres rather than chassis.

Carlos Sainz, Leclerc's Ferrari team-mate, said he saw the issue developing as he watched from trackside at the end of the straight that approaches Turn 11.

"I was actually standing right in front of the drain cover when it came out, because I went on track to see," Sainz said.

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Carlos Sainz was watching closely as the drain cover incident unfolded and says it should have been yellow flagged earlier.

"And I was looking at it like, 'yellow flag it, yellow flag it, yellow flag it - someone's going to take it!' Boom, my team-mate came and took it.

"So I felt like it could have been avoided in a way, but I missed by one lap. Because I went to speak to the marshal, and just when I was speaking to him, it happened."

Leclerc shows promising pace for Ferrari

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Sky Sports' Ted Kravitz explains Sergio Perez’s RB20 is having issues with its brake on day two of testing

Leclerc ended the session at the top of the timesheet, having shown promising pace for Ferrari after reigning world champion Max Verstappen had gone fastest on Wednesday in an ominous showing from Red Bull.

Leclerc's leading time was a 1:31.750, half a second clear of McLaren's Oscar Piastri in second.

The Monegasque's effort was 0.4s back from Verstappen's time on Wednesday, although the latter's came in the theoretically quicker cooler evening conditions.

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Lewis Hamilton takes to the track for the first time during testing in the W15

Sergio Perez, driving in both sessions for Red Bull on Thursday, was fourth after being hampered by a small brake fire early on.

Hamilton, making his first appearance after George Russell drove for Mercedes on Wednesday, was sixth.

The headline timesheet at testing rarely provides a fully accurate picture of true competitiveness given teams keep their fuel levels, engine settings, run plans and set-ups close to their chests.

Bahrain pre-season test: Day Two timesheet

Driver Team Time Laps Tyres
Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:31.750 36 C3
Oscar Piastri McLaren +0.578 35 C3
Logan Sargeant Williams +0.828 30 C4
Sergio Perez Red Bull +1.129 20 C3
Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +1.303 31 C3
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.475 39 C3
Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1.965 38 C3
Pierre Gasly Alpine +2.054 33 C3
Nico Hulkenberg Haas +5.759 31 C3
Yuki Tsunoda RB +6.324 40 C2

* the C5 tyre is the softest - and theoretically fastest - compound, while C1 is the hardest - and theoretically slowest - compound

Sky Sports F1's pre-season testing schedule

Thursday February 22 - Day Two

  • 10.55am-4.05pm: Afternoon Session
  • 8pm: Testing Wrap
  • 8.30pm: Ted's Testing Notebook

Friday February 23 - Day Three

  • 6.50am-11.05am: Morning Session
  • 11.55am-4.05pm: Afternoon Session
  • 8pm: Testing Wrap
  • 8.30pm: Ted's Testing Notebook
  • 9pm: Development Corner

When is the first F1 race?

Just one week after testing, the opening race of the 2024 season will begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29 to March 2.

Due to the Muslim holy period of Ramadan, the Bahrain and, seven days later, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, will be held on a Saturday.

This means practice one and two will take place on Thursdays, with final practice and qualifying on Fridays.

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Watch pre-season testing live and then every round of the new season, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29-March 2. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership

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