Zandvoort is not a favourable circuit for SF-23 – this was the consensus even before the action started this weekend. Ferrari is suffering greatly, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc making similar complaints about the car.
The rain certainly didn’t help, and the Ferrari’s very weak front end forced the team’s technicians, including Enrico Cardile, to opt for a more streamlined aerodynamic set-up – far from ideal.
The result is a very fast SF-23 on the straight – which isn’t very useful in Zandvoort anyway – that generates insufficient downforce in low-medium speed corners. Its behaviour is also very difficult for the drivers to predict and manage.
Charles Leclerc’s accident will force the mechanics to replace the chassis and gearbox
During Q3, Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari hit the wall due to a small mistake, with very big consequences, made by the Monegasque.
The 25-year-old was obviously trying to squeeze the most out of an uncompetitive and tricky SF-23 amidst difficult track conditions.
There was no damage to the Power Unit, which was replaced just before Qualifying, but important changes will be made to the 16 car.
“I wasn’t over-pushing, and I wasn’t over the limit, like in Miami, for example. However, the car is really difficult to drive.
“We go from a lot of understeer to a lot of oversteer. We need to improve quickly, but that’s not an excuse,” said the Monegasque at the end of the day.
Charles Leclerc qualified ninth, and following his crash tomorrow, his SF-23 will be fitted with the spare chassis, replacing the one he raced with today.
The gearbox will also be replaced, but at the time of writing, it is unclear whether a new gearbox or a pool member will be fitted. In any case, this decision shouldn’t be underestimated – given the importance of the next weekend at Monza for Ferrari.
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang