Scuderia Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has recently confirmed that the Italian side does not intend to bring a B-spec challenger during the 2023 Formula one campaign, explaining that the Maranello team will instead continue with its planned update development process to improve its SF-23 single-seater.
Before the beginning of the 2023 Formula 1 championship, Scuderia Ferrari was seen as the main rival to challenge Red Bull for the world titles. However, once the cars hit the track at the Bahrain International Circuit, the pace and performance deficit to Red Bull was clear. In addition to this, some reliability problems have affected the results of the SF-23 car in the start of the season, with only a fourth place finish for Carlos Sainz in the first round of the season, the Bahrain Grand Prix, as Charles Leclerc was forced to retire.
At the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Charles Leclerc’s race ended after just three corners due to a collision with the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll, while his Maranello teammate Carlos Sainz received a controversial five-second penalty that sent him outside the top ten, on a race weekend in which the Spanish driver admitted that Scuderia Ferrari was evaluating whether or not to change the concept of its current-spec SF-23 car given the poor performance so far.
“We need to go and check something very different from where we are now. I think the extremely good performance at the start of last season made us, I think, keep pushing with this concept, with this project of car. But I think we realise now that Red Bull has a clear advantage everywhere and that we need to start looking to our right and to our left.” – Carlos Sainz explained.
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Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has denied this possibility and rejected any major changes, instead explaining that the Maranello team will stick with its significant update programme which is represented by new parts at each of the following races.
“We have a flow of updates that will come, not for Baku, because we have the aero package for the level of downforce, and with the sprint race it is not the easiest one, but for Miami, Imola, not Monaco, and Barcelona,” – the French managed said in a recent press conference – “At each race, we’ll have an update on the car. We are sticking to the plan. We have made some adjustments in terms of balance and behaviour, and it was much better in Melbourne, and we’ll continue in this direction. It’s not a B-car if that is what you want to say. We won’t come with something completely different. We will continue to update this one and we’ll try to update massively.” – he added.
Fred Vasseur confirmed that changing the concept of the SF-23 challenger or “starting from scratch” during the ongoing campaign would be almost impossible taking into consideration the Formula 1 budget cap limits and the restrictions in terms of aerodynamic development.
At the same time, the following months will have a significant importance for the Italian side not only for the current championship, but also for the next one:
“Until Barcelona a package of crucial developments on the SF-23 to decide “what to keep and what to leave” on the 676, says Fred Vasseur. Intense work of Carlos Sainz immediately on the simulator after Melbourne, Charles Leclerc after Easter.” – FIA accredited Formula 1 journalist and analyst Giuliano Duchessa posted on Twitter, confirming that for Scuderia Ferrari the upcoming updates will be very important not only in terms of pace and performance of the SF-23 challenger, but also in view of the 2024 Formula 1 project.