Zandvoort represented another complicated weekend for the Ferrari SF-23, which has struggled for a clean weekend all season. The Scuderia knew difficulties were likely, bracing themselves for negative news stories in an F1 circuit that doesn’t suit their car.
Even the Alpine – with Pierre Gasly – was more effective than the Ferrari, despite being the only car with a medium load specification. Gasly achieved a podium by exploiting the uncertainties of Mercedes and McLaren, certainly helped by a good car in terms of mechanical balance.
The mixed conditions and the physiognomy of the track minimized the horsepower deficit of the A523. Carlos Sainz did a very good job in the circumstances.
However, he lacked the necessary performance to secure a first podium in 2023.
Next is Monza, an ultra-fast track that should highlight the efficiency and braking qualities of the SF-23.
“Sainz’s fifth position is a good result considering the conditions. We remain confident for Monza. It’s a very different track from Holland and should go better with our carm,” declared Team Principal Fred Vassuer post-race.
Ferrari unprecedented at Monza with a track-specific rear wing and single-element beam wing
In Holland, Ferrari couldn’t fight for first. At the same time, the steps forward by Aston Martin and Mercedes – thanks to fresh upgrades – have relegated Ferrari to fourth or fifth-fastest.
McLaren from Silverstone has entered the fight of the teams that come after Red Bull, which has made the battle behind Verstappen (and partly Perez) even closer. Nonetheless, at Monza, we should see a Ferrari more in the fight for a possible podium finish.
The Italian track does not require a difficult set-up compromise, but traction and rotation in the Lesmo corners must not be penalized by mechanical stiffness.
The Maranello team has begun preparing for the simulator with Giovinazzi, but Antonio Fuoco and Davide Rigon are also there and will do so constantly throughout the weekend with real-time data from the sessions.
As mentioned, where excellent corner speed is necessary, the SF-23 has various shortcomings that cannot be resolved before next year. Technical director Enrico Cardile has now admitted this.
For Monza, the data suggests Ferrari can benefit from excellent aerodynamic efficiency (not taking into account the DRS factor of Red Bull).
This should certainly help against Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren – who all struggle with drag.
According to what has been learned, Ferrari will bring an even more unloaded rear wing in Monza, specifically designed for the Italian track.
With regard to the beam wing, a decision will be made on Thursday morning, as per practice, after analysing the data from the simulations.
At the team’s disposal is a single-element configuration, never used before, which could be mounted specifically for Monza if it improves performance.
We could see a new configuration at Ferrari. Since 2022, a double-element specification has always been used – even for low-load tracks.
In all cases, the problem experienced in Zandvoort will not be repeated. The engineers will have a wide choice of wings to mix the load on board.
Rushing final updates is unlikely: the target remains between Japan and Qatar
The conference by the new technical director Cardile in the Netherlands put the dots on the i’s on the technical situation at Ferrari. The development plan has not changed and will not be rushed.
The final steps for 2023 remain planned for the Japanese and Qatar GPs. They will also not be designed to improve performance on the SF-23.
The sidepod design will likely stay the same, indicating that Ferrari’s focus is now on next year’s project.
Seeing something new in Singapore is not to be excluded, even if it is given as highly unlikely. Moreover, rushing updates represents a cost that would affect the team’s financial ceiling.
Performance could yet be extracted from the SF-23 floor, which will again be subject to corrective measures for the Asian stages.
The first step was taken in Miami to bring the SF-23 back into the window, changing the future entries and returning to a shape not unlike the pre-France 2022.
From then on, we tried to improve on the basis of what was available – in some cases with tests – to make the SF-23 more constant with all the limits of the case.
Pirelli will stay in Monza with Red Bull and Alpine for two days of testing
During the weekend of the Italian Grand Prix, the C3 compound will be used as P Zero White hard, C4 as P Zero Yellow medium and C5 as P Zero Red soft.
This is the softest choice of compound in the Pirelli range, already used in five other race weekends since the start of the season.
At the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the ” Alternative Tyre Allocation” will be tested again after the first test in Hungary.
Each driver will have 11 sets of dry tyres (3 Hard, 4 Medium and 4 Soft) available.
In qualifying, it will be mandatory to use only one type of compound per session unless the latter is declared wet: Q1 mandates hard tyres, Q2 the Mediums and Q3 the Softs.
Pirelli, who is getting closer and closer to renewing the maxi-agreement with F1, will stay in Monza even after the Italian Grand Prix in view of the program that will see them busy for a couple of days of testing with Alpine and Red Bull Racing.
The teams will take to the track on Tuesday to test new dry tyres – likely the 2025 specifications without tyre warmers.