There is a hope. Indeed, perhaps something more than just hope: one control electronics failed causing Charles Leclerc to retire from the first round of the 2023 Formula One championship, the Bahrain GP, but the other, the one that was replaced as a precaution on Sunday morning, may have survived. The Maranello technicians are carrying out a functional check to ensure that the first CE can return to action and is subjected to a series of work cycles to find out if all the parameters are correctly active.
After a very disappointing race weekend, the Ferrari Racing Division was looking for some news to look to the future with a bit of optimism and the prospect that Charles Leclerc might not be penalized as early as the second Grand Prix of the season is reviving the shaken morale of the Italian side. Not having to give up positions on the grid would be a nice breath of fresh air for the Ferrari men. The Reparto Corse technicians were able to identify the wiring on the SF-23 #16 that caused damage to a battery and at least to an electronic control unit.
The electrical system literally went haywire due to the fastening of the inadequate wiring and due to the stress it was subjected to on the Sakhir bumps. The problem was identified and solved: therefore, there was no human error Sunday morning in the frenetic replacement of the battery and control unit.
However this means that there was something which did not work correctly in terms of packaging between the chassis and the engine. A situation that is amplified by the other sudden issues that have affected the SF-23 in Bahrain.
How can we forget the more loaded rear wing that was unable to complete even a few laps without serious problems. It had been taken to the track on the last day of pre-season testing, but disappeared almost immediately due to a DRS problem. Since it was a one-of-a-kind component, it was not replaced by a spare one, but forced the mechanics to reassemble the weaker wing that made its debut last year in Canada.
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One he control of the mobile wing was fixed, the rear wing with the single pylon was reintroduced in the first free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix. However, this time, it was the single pylon that broke, showing a main profile that swayed sideways in a worrying and dangerous way.
The second stop came immediately. The result: the wing that should have been used to collect the data requested from home could not be used for now. It is surprising that a top team like Ferrari also had to deal with a small element that flew off Charles Leclerc’s car at the start of Q1, when the lower part of the carbon cover that partially fairs the front wheel broke.
Three problems, three structural failures: what’s going on? Ferrari have been very solid and robust single-seaters. Most likely the aggressive attempt to reduce the weight of the car led to a situation that has probably already cost a retirement. Fred Vasseur invokes reliability as the first aspect to improve: the Saudi Arabian GP will be the first exam to pass with flying colors…