Ferrari SF-23: No car B, but intense updates anticipated
Ferrari’s Team Principal, Fred Vasseur, has confirmed that the Italian team will not introduce a new “car B” but will instead focus on an intense and divided evolution program for the Ferrari SF-23.
The race pace in Australia is something that Fred Vasseur notes among the positive aspects of the last Grand Prix, while the Qualifying could have been managed better to show the true potential – from the front row – of the Ferrari SF-23.
The French team principal is already looking to the future and the intense development program underway in Maranello, which will not be a revolution. The most important thing will be to confirm the improvements from Baku onwards.
Without a doubt, Ferrari has taken a step forward in performance in Australia, even though the Grand Prix ended with zero points for the Scuderia. The ranking in this case certainly does not reflect the value of the Ferrari SF-23, which, although far from what the level of the car should have been even according to its own creators, conquered a podium in Bahrain with Charles Leclerc and a fourth place in Australia with Carlos Sainz.
“In Australia, we took a step forward, but we didn’t realize the potential of the car. At the end of the race, there was a strange feeling for this reason,” explained team director Fred Vasseur.
Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari was the fastest car on the track, and for the first time, the SF23 showed more speed than the AMR23 in the race, demonstrating that the work done in Maranello in recent weeks is starting to pay off.
However, it should be noted that Sainz’s comeback was hampered by a race for confinement with the Hamilton-Alonso duo, so the advancements of the SF-23 compared to the AMR23, in particular, will certainly need to be reevaluated.
According to Fred Vasseur, the new development program for the Ferrari SF-23 that was introduced in Australia has yielded positive results.
Despite presenting the same car that raced in Jeddah, the team took a different path for development in Melbourne, which seemed to work. However, Vasseur acknowledged that the full potential of the car was not fully realized, particularly in qualifying.
The development program was designed to feature new additions at every race, but the team’s approach in Australia produced different results on a front-limited circuit.
During the qualifying session, the Ferrari team made an error in management, resulting in Charles not being able to do the preparation lap and Carlos making a mistake in the first corner. Had it not been for these errors, they could have secured a spot on the front row.
However, during the race, the SF-23 showed a more balanced performance, which allowed Carlos to perform better and compete with Red Bull.
Vasseur acknowledges that the improvements made so far are not enough to completely turn the season around, but he is optimistic and believes they are on the right track. They will need to confirm their progress in Baku. The Australian Grand Prix was a slow race with no significant wear on the cars.
In Australia, the only change that affected the Ferrari SF-23 was related to the underbody, a part that always has a significant impact on the performance of this new generation of cars. In Arabia, a new specification of the underbody had debuted on the Italian car, recognizable by the upward fold at the rear wheel area. But the modifications did not end there, as there were further updates on the outer pavement and, most importantly, on the lower part.
Once correlated in the second free practice session of the season, the new specification was used throughout the weekend in Australia, ensuring the SF-23 had a greater load than the old specification, and most importantly, it allowed the technicians to better understand the car’s behavior, with a more linear work process throughout the weekend, without porpoising or alignment problems.
Certainly, the asphalt in Melbourne benefited the Italian car, which, similarly to the Mercedes W14, raced with a broader operating window. By doing so, it is easier for technicians to identify the optimal setup, which guarantees the car’s peak performance.
According to Fred Vasseur, the evolution program for the Ferrari SF-23 will be intense and divided into steps, without the introduction of a new car specification, also known as a Spec-B. Vasseur confirmed that the team is discussing the aerodynamic concept of the car and whether they will follow the path of Mercedes, which has abandoned its philosophy, or continue with their own. However, Vasseur clarified that the upcoming updates will not drastically change the shape of the car and that a new car specification is not yet planned.
According to Fred Vasseur, Ferrari had a development program in place before the start of the season, which had to be adjusted based on the track conditions, problems encountered, and the behavior of the car.
However, due to the budget cap and wind tunnel testing limits, this program cannot be entirely discarded. Instead, the team is investing time and resources to anticipate some components and bring them forward in the schedule.
For example, the updates that were initially planned for Barcelona will now arrive in Imola and subsequent races. Some of these updates will be introduced in Baku, while only aerodynamic adaptations will be made to the car for the next race due to the complicated track and the format of the Sprint Race.
However, Ferrari fans can look forward to updates in Miami, Imola, and Barcelona, although no updates are planned for Monaco.
Ferrari SF-23 car B Ferrari SF-23 car B
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