After the unsuccessful Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari leaves Barcelona with the awareness that, despite the introduced upgrades, the problems of the SF-23 are still very present; both in terms of pure performance and tyre management.
A difficult moment that can only cause discontent both in the team and among the fans. A disappointment also expressed, after the grand prix, also by some major Italian newspapers.
It was a very difficult Spanish Grand Prix, the one Ferrari experienced last weekend, a weekend to which the Scuderia arrived with high expectations and with the confidence of being able to do well and at least return to playing the role of the second force on the field. Expectations resulting from the introduction of the SF-23’s first updates of the season (new sidepods, mirrors and floor) which, at least from the data, should have allowed a leap forward in terms of pure performance and, above all, in tyre management; the car’s real weak point.
However, the expectations and after the 66 laps of the race at Montmelò, were (at least in part) disappointed given that the Ferraris were not protagonists of a great Qualifying while in the race, as was the case in all the races held so far in 2023, the chronic tyre management problems (with both cars and with both compounds), which conditioned the performance and the result of the race for the two Maranello drivers, persisted.
A difficult race, finished in fifth position by Carlos Sainz, who started second, and in eleventh by Charles Leclerc who started from the pitlane after a weekend compromised by some technical problems, still unknown, in Qualifying, and with a gap taken up by Max Verstappen’s Red Bull of cycling mould.
Ferrari’s Spanish race under scrutiny
A race which, in the following hours, was analyzed by the main Italian newspapers, such as ‘Motorsport.com‘, which could do nothing but underline the difficulties encountered by the SF-23, both in terms of performance and in terms of tyre management. A situation, unfortunately, not even improved by the updates introduced.
“An SF-23 Evo that is neither fish nor fowl,” the publication said. “The Red Car still showed a difficult adaptation to the tyres, highlighting the usual defects. […] The Spanish GP was supposed to be the race to redeem, however, the changes resulting from more than two months of work have not given great results”.
A weekend which, as mentioned, highlights the limits of the 2023 project and, also, the great gap that still separates Ferrari from Red Bull. A gap that is difficult to fill during the season which, in fact, denies the predictions of Frederic Vasseur, confident of being able to achieve success by the end of the year.
“Ferrari must stop making proclamations: Vasseur has ensured that the red will be able to win this season. Forget the forecasts and organize the team to give the drivers a competitive car for next year,” it added.
In addition to Red Bull, the picture is made even more difficult by the performance of Mercedes. Data in hand, the W14s were faster than the Reds in terms of race pace. Another problem that adds to the already complex weeks the people are experiencing in Maranello.
“A surprise, negatively, is not so much the 45 seconds that separated Sainz from Verstappen, as the 21 remedied by Hamilton, who started off behind the Spaniard. And it was surprising, always negatively, to see Leclerc unable to reach the area points,” Motorsport pointed out.
The updates have failed
Even Leo Turrini, in the lines of his blog ‘Profondo Rosso‘, did not hide his disappointment at the developments which did not give the expected plus. Failure which, then, was not hidden even by the drivers at the end of the race.
“Let’s assume that this was a repair exam,” Turrini said. “Outcome: Ferrari rejected. The updates didn’t work. Leclerc’s post-race words were a hymn to frustration, it’s useless to get around it. […] This story of the developments that never produce the desired effects is as old as the cuckoo”.
A complex moment, as is clear, from which the Redhead will be called to emerge as soon as possible. The problem, however, is represented by the absence of answers and solutions to the current shortcomings: a scenario that does not allow the Cavallino to look to the future, in the medium-short term, with confidence.
“I guess Vasseur is asking himself some questions. The answers are missing here, not starting today. It was a painful spring. […] I fear that the summer will be worse,” Turrini lamented.