Let’s analyze the key points from Friday’s practice sessions for the 2023 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, which was held at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Aston Martin uses the Spanish Friday as a testing day. During FP1, the team had the opportunity to test a prototype of the new Pirelli tires and perform flow analysis with the new upgrades.
“The track was a bit slower than we expected,” commented Fernando Alonso – “The upgrades have improved the car, but to have a reliable comparison with the others, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow when everyone pushes.”
Ferrari, the upgrades seem to be working
The Maranello team arrives in Barcelona with many upgrades on the SF-23. However, the objective is clear, and there is no room for illusions: it’s a turnaround that will allow greater freedom and development possibilities throughout the season.
Even the local hero, Carlos Sainz, admitted that the upgrades won’t allow them to fight for victory against Red Bull, but pointed out that a change of pace is crucial for the Italian side’s long-term development.
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!
The real goal for Scuderia Ferrari is to compete in the championship, primarily with Mercedes and then Aston Martin. Especially looking at the race pace in the second free practice session, the upgrades are giving good hopes, and Sunday’s podium in Barcelona does not seem impossible at this point.
In interviews, Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur stated that he hasn’t analyzed all the data yet, but obviously, he expects the on-track upgrades to improve the SF-23 car’s performance. (Further comments by Fred Vasseur can be found here).
“These upgrades will serve to open the door to future developments,” explained the Ferrari Team Principal.
The porpoising nightmare returns for Mercedes
The Silver Arrows had a challenging Friday in Barcelona. George Russell finished in P10 and P8 in the first two practice sessions and complained over the team radio about excessive bouncing with his W14, especially in turns 3 and 9.
“Perhaps we were exaggerating with the ride height,” explained the young British driver – “The situation improved significantly in the second half of the session when we raised the car a bit.”
George Russell explained in yesterday’s press conference that this season there are different performance levels among teams on Saturdays and Sundays. Mercedes proves to be more competitive on Sundays when they have to rely on race pace to score championship points.
Bonus Key Point – Sergio Perez raises concern about the new layout, Max Verstappen appreciates it
Not an exciting Friday for the Mexican driver, especially when compared to the performance of his teammate who is flying with Red Bull. Sergio Perez explained that with the new layout (without the last chicane in the third sector), more than one driver could experience neck discomfort: “Today was tough on the neck, and it was a relatively short day; Sunday will be even more challenging.”
Max Verstappen, on the other hand, is fully satisfied with the last sector: “Formula 1 cars are more fun to drive at higher speeds. I also tried to follow other cars, and I didn’t notice any aerodynamic disturbances.” – the Dutchman pointed out.