The Scuderia Ferrari team had hoped to compete for the world championship in the 2023 season but fell short due to the dominance of Red Bull and its RB19 car. Ferrari’s efforts were focused on identifying the problems which their car, the SF-23, faced in managing tyre conditions during races.
However, progress has been accelerated since the Dutch Grand Prix post the summer break. The team’s methodical approach to problem-solving has unlocked some potential solutions and they hope this newfound knowledge will contribute to delivering a superior car in 2024. This could potentially restore them to their usual position at the front of the pack.
As they prepare for the Qatar Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc commends the level-headedness of Frédéric Vasseur, the team principal, in helping the squad in its rational decision-making. “Fred is super flat emotionally, which I think is really good in the position he is,” said Leclerc. He notes that Vasseur’s balanced approach proves beneficial in clear-headedness when the team navigates through their hiccups, but also in remaining focused and eager to work harder even during their victories.
The turning point for Ferrari in their 2023 season was their strategic approach to the Dutch GP. They opted to focus their Friday training on detailed car analysis rather than the usual tyre inspection. This strategy, followed up with further tests at the Italian Grand Prix, revealed some of the SF-23’s weaknesses.
Following these insights, the team, led by Leclerc and his team-mate Carlos Sainz, saw a surge in performance, culminating in a victory at the Singapore Grand Prix and a decisive triumph over Mercedes in Japan. According to Leclerc, a clearer understanding of the car’s abilities and consistency were crucial in achieving this success.
However, despite Leclerc’s optimistic tone, Sainz remains somewhat cautious – acknowledging the team’s strides but reminding that “F1 is never something out of the blue, it’s always incremental gains”. This was highlighted by Ferrari’s victory in the high tyre degradation race in Japan, which has been a pressing issue for them, successfully managing their tyre life during a two-stop strategy.