With the Miami Grand Prix, the standard race weekend format returns. Scuderia Ferrari took advantage of this to introduce and test a new floor, which was the subject of comparisons in the first free practice session. Charles Leclerc used the new floor, while Carlos Sainz continued with the old element. In the end, the results were positive, so much so that, in the second hour of activity, both SF-23s were equipped with the new floor, which is a fundamental element in a series of more extensive interventions already planned and that we will see in the next few races, as explained by FUnoanalisitecnica.
At Maranello, they do not want to waste time in the process of improving the 2023 Formula 1 single-seater, which is still paying a significant gap from the leading Red Bull. At the end of an intense Friday of work, the answers were positive, although there were some problematic moments, such as Charles Leclerc’s off-track excursion during the race pace simulation. This fact shows that some critical issues persist on a car that still has a long healing process to face.
On the positive side, as Carlos Sainz stated, Ferrari tried everything that had been planned before arriving in the United States. This is a good sign when there are new parts of a certain relevance, such as the floor of a car, involved. The Spanish driver managed to string together a good series of laps and gather interesting data even with a very hot track that tended to be particularly slippery.
We have already explained it in the focus dedicated to Red Bull and in that related to Mercedes: the new track surface has put the teams in difficulty because it was particularly slippery when the cars left the ideal trajectory. But, despite this, a lot of data has been collected and Carlos Sainz stated that it is an excellent base of knowledge to analyze by the Maranello team in the next period.
Ferrari is still lagging behind Red Bull. In Miami, it seems that what happened in previous races could be repeated, namely seeing a strong Ferrari on the single lap and struggling over the long distance.
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“The sensations in the car are good on the single lap. As for the race pace, however, we are still lacking something compared to our opponents and we are working on this aspect,” the Ferrari driver reported at the end of Friday’s work. Charles Leclerc briefly spoke about the incident he was involved in, admitting his fault: “There is not much to discuss about the incident: I pushed too hard. If we are there on the pace in qualifying, we are far away from Red Bull on race pace. We are back in another league.”
Ferrari SF-23: still problems with the thermal management of Pirelli compounds
Observing the behavior of the SF-23, we can notice changes from one session to another. In FP1, it suffered from understeer, unlike Red Bull, partly due to the track still being little used. In FP2, there was a partial reshuffling of the field: Charles Leclerc was very strong in the initial sector in the first session, but little by little, Max Verstappen found the correct trajectories. In fact, the Monegasque driver was better at interpreting the section between turn 4 and 6.
The SF-23 confirms excellent mechanical grip, thus being able to attack the curbs in the 14-15-16 section. The main deficiency, apart from some minor handling problems, remains the big speed gap. The distances with Max Verstappen widened significantly on the race pace.
The comparison with Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari is ruthless: a whopping eight tenths ahead of Maranello’s car. The red car, as partial consolation, seemed in line with the times of Aston Martin and Mercedes. The main problem of the Italian single-seater remains thermal degradation. Despite having a lot of traction, the SF-23s tend to slide excessively with full tanks due to their heavier weight. That’s why, as happened, for example, in Baku, the car tends to improve its performance as the fuel load decreases.