Ferrari and the “something special”
“We will have to do something special to beat Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship.” After the summer break, Ferrari’s team principal, Frederic Vasseur, emphasized that recovering about fifty points from the Brackley team would not be easy for the Prancing Horse. At Zandvoort, the return from the holidays was far from satisfying, with Charles Leclerc struggling to tame a difficult SF-23 during Qualifying. The weather and Carlos Sainz’s determination limited the damage in the Netherlands, but then at Monza and Singapore, Ferrari picked up the pace, and that “something special” arrived.
Two pole positions, a podium, a victory: Ferrari has never been as competitive as it is now in this championship, and suddenly, Mercedes is back in the crosshairs (24 points behind in the standings). From tomorrow, the Circus will be at the splendid Suzuka circuit, a track where especially in Qualifying, Ferrari has often shone in recent editions (Vettel and Leclerc secured the front row in 2019, and a year ago, Verstappen narrowly beat the red cars by 10 thousandths compared to Leclerc and 57 compared to Sainz).
Today’s edition of Il Corriere dello Sport focuses on the steps forward that Ferrari has taken to return to the forefront. Weight reduction work on the rear suspensions has shed three kilograms from the SF-23, and the car has dropped below the minimum weight of 798 kg, leaving room for valuable ballast to improve the setup and balance. Additionally, according to the sports newspaper based in Rome, the clutch-gearbox unit is now “a bomb” after the recent clutch updates that ensured a perfect start in Singapore (in 2022, the start often posed a problem for Ferrari).
Moreover, Suzuka will be the ideal place to check if the SF-23 is now less affected by the wind, a factor that played a significant role in making the 2023 Ferrari unpredictable and, therefore, inconsistent in terms of behavior and race pace: “Suzuka has a couple of points where aerodynamic downforce is needed, and then a lot of speed with long corners, which Ferrari has struggled with so far,” the article adds. “This is the first test to pass, then there’s the wind, which was absent at Monza and among the skyscrapers of Singapore.”