The first day of testing is often difficult to analyse. The teams try to get a better understanding of mechanical setup options, even extreme ones, whilst getting to grips with electronics and power. The Ferrari SF-23 was a car that underwent plenty of work.
From the GPS data, Ferrari and Red Bull seemed to have two quite different approaches. Verstappen ran higher fuel runs, while the Ferrari SF-23 only used slightly more power when carrying the extra fuel.
We are still far from having the complete picture. Alonso stood out, quickly getting up to speed with his AMR23. He will also drive all day today, as Aston Martin waits for news on Stroll’s condition. The Spaniard has always thrived at adapting to new cars, setting competitive laps on the C3s, as well as showing good speed on the straights.
The medium Pirelli tires (yellow) were by far the most fashionable compound of the day, and, among other things, will be the softest tire for the upcoming race weekend.
2023 cars: No lighter rear, Ferrari experimental set-ups
The first day is too early for any concrete estimations of the performance of the new cars for 2023, as drivers adapt to their new machinery. At least for now, the regulatory aerodynamic limitations don’t seem to have slowed down the performance, as we anticipated in the past weeks. However, it will be necessary to find the ideal balance to demonstrate it, and this must be achieved very quickly.
The general trend was that most cars had a light rear, which suffered from slight understeer, especially between the middle and final phase of the braking zone. Ferrari also had its work cut out, especially with Leclerc.
The team insists the first day of running went according to plan, without problems. In the high-speed corners, there was clearly bouncing on the Ferrari SF-23.
However, some of the SF23’s settings on heights and mechanics were experimental. In the factory in Maranello and on the track, they didn’t appear as worried as some on board could have suggested, but Verstappen certainly already seemed very solid.
The Maranello squad should also have a new floor available to test tomorrow or Friday, demonstrating that the Ferrari SF-23 will begin to change rapidly.
It should be noted that today the Reds had a small problem with the DRS device, which forced the mechanics to change the rear wing during the Leclerc session.
The team has A very efficient medium load specification at closed DRS, unusually unloaded for a circuit like Sakhir. Indeed, if we had to bet, we could say that next week there will be new specifications.
Author: Giuliano Duchess
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang