With the final race of the 2023 Formula One campaign on the horizon, the battle for second place and fourth place in the team standings is wide open in the F1 championship. Meanwhile, the competition for P4 involves Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, and Charles Leclerc, a duel that will be decided in just a few days in Abu Dhabi.
The standings shift occurred due to Carlos Sainz’s victory in Singapore and the decline of Aston Martin, causing Alonso to slide down the rankings. Ferrari had a slow start to the year but made progress in Baku and Austria. Although Toto Wolff’s team improved its performance, it still has clear weaknesses. Incidents like the teammate clash at Losail and Austin’s disqualification had an impact. In Brazil, technical failures in optimizing the W14’s setup occurred. Mercedes, on the other hand, benefited from Charles Leclerc’s misfortune at Interlagos.
As we approach the season’s final race, the current gap is just 4 points. Yas Marina circuit’s layout is rather diverse, emphasizing traction and reach, along with a sequence of challenging corners, some sharp and others rounder.
On paper, unless you’re part of Red Bull, the race weekend promises uncertainty. After a challenging test in Las Vegas, McLaren should also pose a threat again and challenge Mercedes and Ferrari for a podium position in Abu Dhabi.
Ferrari is now turning its attention to the final round of the 2023 Formula 1 season, also looking ahead to the upcoming championship. In this context, more details about the SF-23 emerge. Despite progress in the wind tunnel, the revised sidepods may not be as valuable as goldfish tanks, but they ensure greater aerodynamic flexibility. It’s no coincidence that Hulkenberg also struggles to detach himself from it.
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From Maranello, the technical office drew essential conclusions about the season’s technical development. Ultimately, three main points stand out based on the analysis made by the Italian side in this second part of the season, according to formu1a.uno:
First, the modified sidepods introduced by Ferrari at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona led to the abandonment of the “goldfish” tank, which did not provide a significant advantage in the wind tunnel. Instead, it had an immediate negative impact on overall downforce, as feared by the technicians. However, at that stage, opening different development paths and a successful mission were more important.
The second aspect was the floor and front wing designed in Fiorano, aiming to regain a more balanced downforce share after a change in concept.
The third was the new floor introduced in Suzuka, not meant to increase the SF-23‘s downforce but rather to give the drivers greater confidence. After a technically challenging year, the good news is that the riders feel more coherence from corner to corner, with no more load spikes and unexpected drops.
Las Vegas demonstrated that the end-of-life SF-23, despite everything, is not without some qualities. Avoiding them in the new 676 in the name of revolution would have been a mistake.