The pursuit of Red Bull will not involve ‘copying.’
“We are a year and a half behind potentially on that kind of concept,” declared Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz mid-season regarding the possibility of thoroughly studying the Red Bull RB19 in view of the Ferrari 2024 Formula 1 project. In 2023, the Maranello Scuderia remained faithful to its aerodynamic concept compared to 2022, not finding a sufficient performance increase to keep up with the leap forward recorded by Red Bull, which benefited greatly from the weight reduction, thanks in part to the arrival of the new lightweight chassis that had been kept in reserve in 2022.
Ferrari and Mercedes have, therefore, ‘lost a year’ by insisting on their projects, and now they find themselves in the position of having to recover a lot of ground against Red Bull, with two more seasons to compete under the current technical regulations. Charles Leclerc, second in Abu Dhabi, emphasized that Ferrari still has a lot of work to do, and mid-season, he was skeptical about the real possibility of challenging Red Bull for world titles as early as 2024.
The Maranello Scuderia, however, ended the season on an upward trajectory, and the recent events have confirmed that Ferrari can rely not only on a powerful but also reliable power unit. Now the focus shifts to the designers, and as team principal Frederic Vasseur has reiterated several times, “if you copy, you can at best be second,” because the original – whether it has a more powerful power unit or not – will always be at least one step ahead, as Carlos Sainz pointed out regarding the year and a half delay in the Red Bull concept.
Today’s edition of the Italian newspaper Il Corriere dello Sport highlights that Ferrari will not be a copy of Red Bull, and the key will be in the new rear end being developed in Maranello. Another element of discontinuity with the 2022-2023 biennium will be the new chassis with a desirable change in direction concerning the intrusion cones for safety. “We feel the responsibility to put a winning car on the track,” the words from this summer of Ferrari’s technical director Enrico Cardile – “we designed it with a new chassis and rear end.” According to the sports newspaper based in Rome, Enrico Cardile has also clarified the concept that if you try to imitate what worked for Red Bull, you can get close, but you will never beat it.