Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari’s Team Principal, insisted his team will not be copying others’ designs, namely Red Bull, as they seek to improve their 2023 Formula 1 car, the SF-23.
Following up from their F1-75, that took the F1 world by storm in 2022, with its distinctive sidepod design, and its impressive one-lap pace, the House of Maranello introduced the SF-23, with which they hoped to cure its predecessor’s chronic tyre degrading issues over a race distance, which meant that out of nine pole positions, Charles Leclerc only won three races last year while Max Verstappen drove into the distance towards his second F1 Crown.
But the team has fallen short from their targets, as the 2023 Red F1 machine seems to be worse than the previous one, maybe, and we can only speculate here, as it was conceived when turmoil was ravaged behind the doors of Maranello over the winter, as former boss Mattia Binotto was given his marching orders over the winter.
Following another anonymous race for Ferrari, the 2023 Miami Grand Prix last weekend, team boss Frederic Vasseur spoke about their tough weekend stateside, despite having brought a new floor and diffuser to their SF-23.
Leclerc crashed in qualifying and raced from sixth on the grid to seventh, while Carlos Sainz finished fifth despite a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
“Honestly we are a bit too inconsistent during the race,” Vasseur told Sky Sports F1. “We had a good journey to the race but altogether it was not enough so it means we have to understand why we are so much up and down during the same race.
“The upgrades were OK,” he insisted. “I think the story of (Sunday) is more about tyre management and we clearly need to do a step.”
Ferrari must develop their own platform
Asked if going down the Red Bull route in terms of developing their SF-23 was the answer; the Frenchman was adamant that was not the solution, insisting Ferrari will follow their own development path.
“I think it would be a mistake first to think that the performance is coming from a single pillar – the performance is coming from everywhere,” he explained referring to Red Bull’s different sidepod design and anti-dive suspension.
“On the top, if you have to duplicate something, it means that you are always late,” he added. “Now with the cost cap and the fact that the car is almost frozen between two seasons, it’s quite impossible to copy someone.
“It means that we have to stick to our plan and try to develop our platform,” the former Alfa Romeo boss maintained.
As to why Red Bull have an advantage, Vasseur said: “If you have a look on the speed trace I think they have a decent advantage with the DRS. We have to understand and to do a better job on this, for sure.
“The fact that the car [RB19] is also more stable, I think it’s giving you an advantage in terms of aero stability. But it’s not [by] copying the Red Bull that we’ll move forward,” Vasseur concluded.
Ferrari are currently fourth in the 2023 F1 Constructors’ Championship, on 78 points, compared to 224 scored by leaders Red Bull.