In the first sector, we notice that Ferrari and Red Bull gain over two tenths of a second compared to Fernando Alonso’s car, number 14. However, during acceleration, the Prancing Horse’s car loses this advantage and, in the subsequent change of direction, falls behind the lap times of the Silverstone car.
At the first corner, in fact, the two-time world champion from Oviedo carries much less speed (-10 km/h), while at turn 3, car number 16 is the slowest. This corner is taken at high speed with lateral load, so a lot of downforce is required. In this sense, the SF-23 is a bit lacking, as we explained in the performance analysis of the second free practice session for the 2023 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix. In turn 4, the three competitors under examination navigate the bend quite well with very similar apex speeds.
In this first sector of the Catalunya circuit, the car from Maranello loses almost three tenths of a second compared to the Red Bull. Nevertheless, in this portion of the track, the new package of updates could make a difference. Carlos Sainz achieved a time in line with the RB19, in fact. Therefore, tomorrow, by sorting out a few aspects, the potential to match the Austrian car actually exists.
Sector 2: “ideal” Ferrari time within less than a tenth
In the second sector, at turn 5, Max Verstappen slightly anticipates the apex compared to his rivals, indicating greater front grip. This allows him to have a better exit position and generate more power. All of this translates into optimal traction. Ferrari and Aston Martin behave very similarly. In the straight, the AMR23 loses some top-end speed.
In the chicane, the car from Milton Keynes once again anticipates the trajectory by hopping over the first kerb, thus managing to carry more speed on exit. Fernando Alonso loses a little compared to the Ferrari, which gains a few fractions of a second in this section. Then we come to turn 9, a fast right-hander that is almost taken flat out. At this point, the SF-23 loses a significant 13 km/h compared to the RB19 and 10 km/h to the Aston Martin, as explained by F1 tech expert Alessandro Arcari for FUnoanalisitecnica.
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection! Click here to enter the F1 online Store and shop securely! And also get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
Overall, however, the gap in terms of ideal lap is not as disastrous as one might think (less than 1 tenth of a second). As expected, the red car is not too far off in terms of pure lap time, and today’s fastest lap ranking does not reflect what happened on the track. Tomorrow, further progress is expected in this regard.
Sector 3: Medium-speed corners more suitable for Ferrari SF-23
We now reach the final part of the track. Traction remains an important aspect, but not as much as before due to the elimination of the slow final chicane. However, a well-balanced car is still crucial in the section from turn 10 to turn 12, where we notice a different behavior. At turn 10, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc brake late, gaining on entry but losing traction compared to the Red Bull.
The AMR23 loses some ground when applying power. The same thing happens at turn 12, which is an uphill section. Ferrari and Red Bull have more similar behavior in this sector. It is no coincidence that it is the only sector where the lap times are fairly consistent. At turn 14, the last corner, the SF-23 loses time again at the mid-corner. The speeds in this case are higher, as it is taken at around 260 km/h.