An Unpredictable Ferrari
The last weekend at Zandvoort in the Netherlands saw Ferrari struggle throughout the weekend. Circuits that demand high aerodynamic load expose several flaws in the SF-23. The car cannot even afford to run with maximum rear downforce, as it would trigger an unsustainable understeer in terms of balance.
The result was a hard-fought fifth place secured by Carlos Sainz, but even in terms of pace, Alpine, for instance, had the upper hand. Looking at the telemetry, the SF-23 was actually the slowest car through Turn 1, the Tarzan corner. In Qualifying, Charles Leclerc tried to push the limits but ended up hitting the wall due to a combination of oversteer and understeer that essentially sent the SF-23 off track and into the barriers.
In an interview with the BBC, the Monegasque driver explained that the Ferrari SF-23 is truly unpredictable.
Charles Leclerc has always mastered oversteering cars, but in this 2023 season, it’s not just about handling what could be a feature – appreciated by the Monegasque – of an F1 car: “The hardest thing is that I love oversteering cars in general, and this has been a feature of my entire career. The issue with this year’s car was that it wasn’t an oversteering car, but a very unpredictable one. The wind direction affected us much more than our competitors, and of course, going around in circles, you would always find yourself with a tailwind at some point, and it wasn’t a comfortable position to be in. The behavior of the car was impossible to predict.”
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection! Click here to enter the F1 online Store and shop securely! And also get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
Faced with this issue, Charles Leclerc had to ‘accept’ a bit of understeer, even though he didn’t appreciate this type of behavior from an F1 car: “At the beginning of the season, I struggled quite a bit,” he added. “I had to manage some understeer to reduce the ‘percentage’ of unpredictability, and this isn’t what you want, nor the balance I like the most because it doesn’t fit my driving style. We worked on it. We had a good reaction. We made a big step forward in this aspect, and now we just need to increase performance and continue working on this weak point to improve the car.” – the Ferrari man concluded.