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F1 2023 – Can Ferrari unlock their car’s potential?



F1 2023 Can Ferrari unlock their car s potential

Ferrari’s championship hopes for the 2023 Formula 1 season appear to be in jeopardy after a disappointing start, but team principal Fred Vasseur believes the car has the necessary performance, and it’s only a matter of time before they figure out how to make it go fast enough consistently.

In a sense, Ferrari’s attempt to win the 2022 Formula 1 world championship came to an end during the Australian Grand Prix. Despite the fact that nobody was aware of it at the time, the prevailing belief as teams departed Melbourne was that Charles Leclerc was on the verge of winning his first F1 title, with Verstappen 46 points behind him after suffering two retirements in three races.

However, this proved to be the high point, even though it wasn’t immediately apparent. Leclerc’s mistakes in Imola and his loss in Miami resulted in a steady drip of points being surrendered to Verstappen, which then turned into a torrent as reliability issues emerged.

In the 19 races that followed the Australian Grand Prix, Leclerc was only able to outscore Verstappen on five occasions, and his victories were not significant enough to alter the outcome.

F1 2023 - Can Ferrari unlock their car's potential?

This season’s prospects appear grim, with Ferrari failing to make a single podium appearance in the first two races. Leclerc’s seventh-place finish following a grid penalty and his retirement in the other race have left him 38 points behind Verstappen. Carlos Sainz, on the other hand, has fared better, earning 14 more points, but he has not yet shown himself to be Ferrari’s top driver in 2023.

There is a possibility that in 2023, Melbourne may not be where Ferrari’s championship hopes come to an end, but rather where they begin.

This hinges on the accuracy of team principal Fred Vasseur’s statement that the 2023 Ferrari is not inherently slow, but rather that the team has yet to figure out how to make it go fast enough consistently.


There is a certain degree of logic to Vasseur’s interpretation. In Bahrain, Leclerc was only 0.292 seconds off the pole position, and in Saudi Arabia, he was just 0.155 seconds behind before receiving a penalty. Based on raw speed, the car is the second-fastest in Leclerc’s hands. While it hasn’t shown the same level of pace as Red Bull at its best, it could potentially be much closer than it has seemed for most of 2023 so far.

Vasseur’s viewpoint is that the SF23 has the necessary performance, but Ferrari needs to work on its set-ups and tire management to sustain that pace over race distances and with all compounds.

There is a skeptical interpretation that suggests that the Ferrari has fundamental weaknesses that may be concealed by the grip of new tires and Leclerc’s exceptional qualifying performances but which result in fading lap times and high tire degradation during the race.

Vasseur argues that Ferrari has made progress in comparison to Mercedes and Aston Martin in qualifying, and that Leclerc was three or four tenths faster than both teams. He further stated that the first stint of the race went well, with Leclerc making a good comeback on the soft compound tire, and Sainz was able to maintain decent pace on the medium compound tire. However, he also acknowledges that the true potential of the different tire compounds is still unknown.

According to Vasseur, Ferrari lost significant ground in comparison to other teams when using the hard compound tire. As a result, he believes that the team needs to investigate the main issue and focus on improving their management of the different tire compounds over the course of a race weekend.

He went on to say that he believes the main issue during the race was more related to the pace on the hard tire. However, he also acknowledges that there may be other factors at play over the course of the entire weekend.

F1 2023 - Can Ferrari unlock their car's potential?

Sainz’s post-race assessment did not entirely align with Vasseur’s, as he stated that the team is still not where they want to be based on their last stint on the hard tires. He explained that they are still experiencing more tire degradation than Mercedes and Aston Martin, and that they lack some race pace.


Sainz expressed his surprise, as he thought they had a chance of being the second-fastest team in Jeddah before the weekend started.

Nonetheless, the final phase of the race highlighted their need for further improvement. According to Sainz, there is a weakness in their race pace, and the team must rely on future upgrades to address it.

Sainz specifically identifies tyre management as the main weakness that the team needs to address. He points out that they are experiencing tyre overheating even in clean air, and it becomes even more of a challenge when following other cars closely.

Sainz acknowledges that the team needs clean air to produce a competitive lap time, as they tend to consume their tires more rapidly than their competitors. However, he sees the fact that they are aware of their weaknesses as a positive development.

He understands that the team cannot accelerate the development process, but he is confident that the team is working hard to bring improvements to the car. He believes that the upcoming developments will significantly enhance the team’s race pace.

Sainz asserts that Ferrari is aware of what is causing their tire management problem, and the team has a solution in mind, which they plan to implement in an upcoming upgrade package.

He states that they identified the issue during the Bahrain race and have confirmed it in the wind tunnel. Consequently, the team knows where they need to develop the car. However, he acknowledges that bringing upgrades to address the problem will take time, as they cannot implement the upgrades immediately after identifying the issue.

Sainz is optimistic that the team can bring the upgrades early in the season, which he believes could have a significant impact on the rest of the season. He emphasizes the need for the team to remain focused and work hard to achieve their goals.

F1 2023 - Can Ferrari unlock their car's potential?

When asked about Sainz’s comments on the upgrades, Vasseur responded in general terms, stating that Ferrari, like all the teams on the grid, is continually bringing updates to the car every weekend. However, he did not indicate whether there were any specific plans to bring upgrades in response to the team’s performance in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Vasseur clarifies that the team’s update plans are not influenced by their performance on the track, as they have already been determined and are in production. He emphasizes that it is not possible to change plans at the last minute to bring updates immediately, and the team has to follow a predetermined schedule.

However, when asked about the team’s update plans, Vasseur hints that he believes there is more potential to optimize the car’s performance with its current status, rather than solely relying on updates.

Vasseur suggests that the team’s problem does not stem from the car’s potential, but rather from their ability to maximize its performance consistently throughout the weekend. He emphasizes that the team needs to focus on extracting the full potential of the car in every session before considering the impact of updates.

It appears that Sainz and Vasseur are on the same page regarding the performance of the 2023 Ferrari. Although there may be differences in their choice of words and emphasis, they both agree that the car has the potential to be fast and competitive, but it requires further development and improvements.

There is no sign of any discord between the drivers and the boss, as they are aligned in their opinions and share a common goal. The mystery surrounding the timescale and the exact steps required to unlock the car’s full potential remains, but both Sainz and Vasseur are aware of what needs to be done.

Given the level of competition in the 2023 F1 season, it is crucial for Ferrari to solve this mystery and unlock the car’s full potential as soon as possible to stay competitive and improve their chances of success.


F1 2023 – Can Ferrari unlock their car’s potential? F1 2023 – Can Ferrari unlock their car’s potential? F1 2023 – Can Ferrari unlock their car’s potential? F1 2023 – Can Ferrari unlock their car’s potential? F1 2023 – Can Ferrari unlock their car’s potential?