The development of Ferrari’s SF-23 ended with the floor upgraded in Suzuka, with Maranello’s technical forces fully focused on next year. Test benches, wind tunnel, simulator and technicians are all focused on the 676 project – which must represent a significant step forward.
Ferrari is tasked with implementing a technical revolution, at least externally. This approach is better than evolving the basis of this SF-23, which has shown a clear development ceiling.
Enrico Cardile and his men, however, have some solutions available for the SF-23. These are designed to make the car as competitive as possible until Abu Dhabi, as they fight Ferrari for P2.
Ferrari: Some small changes expected to adapt to the altitudes of Mexico
Ferrari will bring a few small tweaks in the last rounds of 2023. However, no massive performance upgrades are expected. The remaining weekends will force Ferrari to make adjustments to optimise performance.
The SF-23 will have a slightly modified bonnet in Mexico to increase engine cooling. The Mexico circuit is held at the highest altitude of any F1 race, which can become a determining factor.
The teams adopt similar setups seen in Monaco, featuring a very high load. At the same time, they reach top speeds similar to Monza – thanks to limited drag produced by air density.
However, this rarefaction of the air also means less breathing room for the components that require cooling. This includes the engines and brake air intakes, which therefore need enlarged sections.
F1 technicians are tasked with optimising their power unit whilst mitigating the risk of a failure. The balance between drag, top speed and durability is difficult to reach.
As such, teams will introduce several alterations to improve reliability this weekend.
In terms of aerodynamic conformation, the Ferrari SF-23 will present itself in the guise we have seen recently. It will run a high-load package, which Ferrari understands better than early in the season.
The Suzuka floor upgrade has been especially helpful for Charles Leclerc. There is a purely technical reason behind the improvement in the Monegasque’s performance.
“The new surface was intended to improve grip when we use a setup setting that tends towards oversteer. Now I can have a slightly stronger front and have more confidence in the car,” Leclerc explained in Mexico.
Maranello’s technicians will be pleased they achieved the desired impact from this update.
Mexico’s brakes demand a return to an old specification: No engine change expected
Sometimes, one step back is needed to take one forward. Ferrari will present a new version of their Brembo brake discs in Mexico.
This new specification is not completely new, since it was a component present in last year’s car. Alfa Romeo has adopted this throughout 2023.
This year, the Ferrari SF-23 has been equipped with 990-hole carbon discs. This is a different solution from what the Ferrari F1-75 used in the first half of 2023 – which featured 1050 holes.
After assessments at Maranello, this change was deemed necessary to extract performance. Sergio Perez’s home circuit requires particular attention to cooling.
This has resulted in Ferrari making specific changes to prevent engine concerns from surfacing.
Regarding engine reliability, Ferrari could make an engine change at the end of the season.
This is especially true for Charles Leclerc’s SF-23, which is shorter on components than the #55 machine.
Mexico could have been a race to make an engine change, but Frederic Vasseur’s team has decided against this. The team has postponed the possible introduction of a new engine to later in the year.
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang