Since the resumption of the championship after the summer break, Ferrari seems to have taken significant steps forward compared to the first part of the 2023 Formula One season. In fact, the SF-23 equipped with the latest seasonal upgrades has performed exceptionally well at Monza, secured victory in Singapore, and achieved a strong placement in Suzuka, a track that, on paper, was perhaps the worst for the SF-23’s characteristics.
This upward trend is what the Maranello team aims to confirm during the upcoming weekend in Qatar, where Formula 1 returns after a year-long hiatus. The circuit has been modernized in terms of facilities and some areas (curbs and run-off zones), but in terms of characteristics, it should favor the Scuderia. This improvement could enable the Prancing Horse to become the second-strongest force in the field, ahead of Mercedes and capable of surpassing McLaren.
This growth, as stated by Franco Nugnes on “Motorsport.com,” is something the Ferrari team wishes to validate. They are confident in their car’s preparation and the upcoming weekend (which will be a Sprint event, offering limited time), which has been optimal up to this point.
“The Ferrari is expected to face a significant test. […] F1 teams arrive without precise references. […] The Qatar GP will feature the fourth Sprint weekend, so having a car with a valid setup will become crucial. It allows the Maranello team to conduct fewer experiments, making the most of the limited time to exploit the potential of the SF-23.”
The preparation work has been consistently strong throughout the season, and while there have been no grand declarations, it does fuel some mild expectations within the Ferrari Racing Division (GeS).
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“It’s fair to say that in weekends where there was a sprint race, Ferrari has always performed well, […] so there is an expectation that this trend will continue at Losail. […] During the day, temperatures could reach 40 degrees, and while it’s true that the qualifications, the Sprint Race, and the GP will take place at night at around 27 degrees, it’s equally true that FP1 and Sprint Shootout will be held before sunset, […] so having a reference to work with in response to weekend changes can be very important.”
Simulation work, as mentioned, is evolving over the months, as desired by Frederic Vasseur, thanks to fresh ideas from technicians hired from other teams.
“It will be important to arrive well-prepared. Ferrari […] seems to have adjusted some simulation parameters, according to the input of those taking control of the department that Vasseur is also reorganizing with fresh talent from outside. In Maranello, no grand declarations are made, but the GeS is in constant evolution. […] A fine-tuning is underway to make virtual activities even more realistic, paying greater attention to variations in the speed of the guided sections. It’s not about increasing the data to monitor but improving the quality of information.”
This work, combined with the favorable characteristics of the Losail circuit, could hopefully bring about some minor performance benefits.
“Qatar is a stop-and-go track and, theoretically, favorable to the SF-23, […] there is also an expectation to see if predictive work can guarantee a slight improvement in the way the Scuderia operates, which should lead to improved performance.”