The Italian Grand Prix at Monza has concluded the European races. The Formula 1 championship is now gearing up for the last eight races of the year, spanning Asia and the Americas. It starts with Singapore and Japan on September 17th and 24th, respectively. In October, there will be races in Qatar, the United States (Austin), and Mexico, followed by the season’s closure in November with events in Brazil, the United States (Las Vegas), and Abu Dhabi.
So, for these eight races, almost all teams will not make substantial changes to their cars. Some components, still in development at their factories, might be introduced, but for all teams, the priority now is finalizing the design of the car for the next year and focusing their efforts and investments there.
In this finale part of the season, several points are at stake that could potentially change the current “balance” we see in both the constructors’ and drivers’ standings. Regarding the teams, the battle for the second-place finish behind Red Bull is wide open. A favored Mercedes (273 points) with a 45-point lead over Ferrari (228) faces a growing Scuderia Ferrari, especially after the home race that saw the Maranello team surpass Aston Martin (217) in the standings.
In the midfield, there’s a McLaren with 115 points aiming to get into the fight for a better position than its current fifth place, but it will be challenging. The British team has shown that it now has a car allowing its drivers to compete with Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston Martin, but the point gap is significant: 102 points behind Aston Martin, 113 behind Ferrari, and 158 behind Mercedes.
The bottom five positions in the constructors’ standings have Alpine with 73 points, with a good margin over Williams (21), Haas (11), Alfa Romeo (10), and AlphaTauri (3). The real battle will be between Haas and Alfa Romeo for the eighth position, as Williams has demonstrated on the field a considerable improvement, allowing them to start scoring points regularly, while AlphaTauri struggles to get out of the last position.
But what are Ferrari’s real objectives in these final eight races of the 2023 Formula One season? Without developments to the SF-23, Ferrari will need to focus even more on the preparation for race weekends and the flawless execution of strategies. Carlos Sainz reiterated this at the end of the Monza Grand Prix, where he had a fantastic race and secured an unforgettable podium: “Now we have some time,” said the Spaniard after the Italian Grand Prix, “which we will use to start preparing for Singapore.” Preparation, as Fred Vasseur also frequently emphasizes to his team and in communications with the media, will be crucial to attempt to beat Mercedes.
Charles Leclerc is also aware of this and hopes to have more exciting races like the one at Monza: “I hope we will see more exciting races like this one, maybe starting with the next one in Singapore,” said the Monegasque driver.
The objective, therefore, will be to challenge for second place in the constructors’ world championship, currently occupied by Mercedes. It won’t be easy, but this “mini championship” of eight races will be a litmus test to understand how much progress the Scuderia Ferrari has made during these months under Fred Vasseur’s management. A comeback against Mercedes could be crucial in giving the men from Maranello the confidence in their capabilities and, at the same time, motivating the team for a comeback, starting from next year.