Ferrari started the year with a combination of promise and frustration, showing reasonable pace in Bahrain and Jeddah but – for various reasons – failing to deliver results. As the summer break comes to a close, Fred Vasseur and his personnel must learn its lessons from the SF-23 and focus on development for 2024.
Pre-season expectations were high at Maranello, after simulator runs showed that significant performance had been unlocked over the winter.
However, as many teams have discovered with these cars, simulators and wind tunnels can be deceiving. In fact, Ferrari’s race pace at the 2023 Bahrain GP was almost identical to the year prior.
Although track conditions and other factors could have played a role, it was clear the Italian squad stood still. Of course, in Formula 1, this means going backwards.
Fred Vasseur has been open about his team’s weaknesses, insisting that the SF-23’s underlying issues must be identified.
After a series of perplexing weekends – for example, at the Spanish GP – Ferrari seems to have better control over its tyre degradation. Although a small operating window is still an issue, the problem has certainly been lessened over the course of the season.
Speaking with Gazzetta, Fred Vasseur has explained that Ferrari is still evaluating concepts for 2024:
“For this season, we stopped development in the wind tunnel at the end of July, but we have new parts already approved and in the works – that should arrive in Qatar or Austin.
“For the single-seater for 2024, we are still at the philosophical concepts.
“The numbers say that you have to be aggressive in the project, but with simulations and equations, we are already at the maximum.
“We have to think differently, find margins so the drivers can push without always being at the limit.”
The issue of identifying a clear philosophy has been an issue across the field, with Red Bull establishing a foundation that has allowed it to progress without major obstacles.
Considering the current deficit to the Austrian team, Ferrari must take a large step this winter – similar to Aston Martin’s going into the 2023 season.
Negotiations with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will be contingent on their performance in 2024, so there are still plenty of unknowns to sort out at Maranello.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang