The longest season ever begins today with the Sakhir tests (from today to Saturday): twenty-three races. Starting strong is not enough, Ferrari knows that. The impressive first races from the previous F1 campaign were followed by a sudden fall. The SF-23, which Carlos Sainz takes to the track this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit, with Charles driving the car in the afternoon, is designed not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Mattia Binotto handed it to Fred Vasseur before leaving. After him, Gino Rosato left, a mysterious figure in the Ferrari organization chart, yet very present and known by everyone in the paddock.
More has changed than it appears, in the last few days Frederic Vasseur has started to move a few pieces. As we wait to find out the true performance of the car, there is also a lot of interest for the tweaks to the team. Starting with the pit wall: Inaki Rueda, who until now has been the head of strategies and was often accused for the mistakes seen last year, will be moved to the remote garage in Maranello. Ravin Jain, a twenty-eight-year-old Englishman of Indian origin, will remain on the track. Having entered the company with an internship, he enjoys great esteem.
He will have greater freedom of action but also more responsibility. Wrong calculations, fear of failing, conservative choices and lengthy decisions negatively affected the race tactics, taking away points and causing tensions between the drivers. In introducing himself, Frederic Vasseur underlined his thirty years of experience as a track man, we’ll see if it works.
Other news on the horizon, for the youth sector: the Academy could pass into the hands of Claudio Albertini, head of the mechanics on the track. In the factory they are led by by Diego Ioverno, the coach of the pit stops, who talked about a thousand exercises before arriving at the start of the championship (March 5, also in Bahrain): a man of great experience.
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Alongside the human challenge there is the technical one, to be overcome. There are no alternatives other than to bring home the title, or at least to fight until the last metre. It was underlined about ten days ago at the presentation of the SF-23 at Fiorano. Sakhir is a highly sensitive circuit to power, here we are looking for the first answers on reliability, the real weak point of 2022. During the winter, no alarms or technical failures were recorded on the test benches (twelve months ago, however, the power units had encountered issues), but the attention is still high in such a delicate matter.
Another chapter concerns tire wear, there is confidence in aerodynamic corrections to create a better balance between performance in the race and that over a single lap. A balance found by Red Bull, who is still favorite for the title on paper. Today the blues unveiled the new car for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, built on the basis of the previous one, capable of winning seventeen out of twenty-two Grand Prix. Change? “Why not?” Max said. The Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell, on the other hand, is an unknown factor. Faithful to the “zero sidepods” concept, but ready to overturn it if it should still be a flop.