In the latest video for the Italian version of the Motorsport website, journalist Roberto Chinchero answered a fan’s question, which is probably shared by many: why has Mercedes already brought an updated and improved car to the track compared to the start of the year, while Scuderia Ferrari is still struggling? After all, both teams started below their expectations and at a similar level. However, it seems that the Brackley-based team has managed to patch up their problems, while, as seen in the Spanish Grand Prix, not even substantial changes can put the SF-23 single-seater back on track.
A hint of a solution comes from the journalist himself: “If we go back to the beginning of the current regulations, Mercedes and Ferrari had very different starts. The latter started with a winning car, while the former had a car that can hardly be called anything but disappointing, considering where they came from and what the W13 had seemed like in testing in Bahrain. The path starts from two different points. The Reds lost competitiveness last year, while the Brackley team picked themselves up towards the end of the season. This leap was a curse for Toto Wolff because it convinced the technicians to continue with that concept without the sidepods.” – the motorsport journalist added.
“This year, Mercedes started with their car concept and then realized it wouldn’t work, I believe already after the first race or even after testing. Ferrari, on the other hand, has been entangled in a strange issue: it was disappointing in Spain, but in other conditions, the SF-23 seems to work. However, as soon as the circumstances change, the car doesn’t perform anymore. Just look at Barcelona: with two sets of hard tires, the single-seater had two different responses, according to what Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc say,” Roberto Chinchero continued.
“Mercedes improved, but they still finished 25 seconds behind”
A different perspective was provided by editor in chief of Motorsport.com Italy Franco Nugnes, who emphasized that Mercedes did improve, but they are still not on par with Red Bull; the evolution was relative only to their direct competitors, Ferrari and Aston Martin. Therefore, enthusiasm and praises should be contained.
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“In the absolute scenario, they still finished 25 seconds behind Max Verstappen. The car has improved compared to the others, but to say it’s competitive… I think Mercedes is in second place only because they have two extraordinary drivers who extract the maximum. For me, Aston Martin has more potential, but they missed out in Barcelona. Or rather, Fernando Alonso missed out, as he made his first mistake of the season. However, in projection, I see Lawrence Stroll’s team as the favorite, considering they will bring a new aerodynamic package to Canada, which, according to rumors, should be substantial,” stated the director of Motorsport.it.
Additionally, the journalist made a point that he has repeated in several videos: “It’s not that everyone at Milton Keynes is a genius and everyone at Maranello is an idiot, which is the feeling of the average Ferrari fan. There are problems, and they are trying to find a way to solve them.”
Italian Formula One journalist, illustrator, and sports commentator Giorgio Piola confirmed this position, emphasizing that Toto Wolff‘s team is using the current car as a testbed for the 2024 Formula 1 championship: “Mercedes is at the beginning of a journey, and I don’t think they are competitive with the W14 right now. But they are building next year’s car based on this foundation. I think that one will be fast.” – he concluded.