Ferrari focus on 2023 development
By Mat Coch
Sunday 16th October, 2022 - 12:06pm
Even prior to the championship-deciding Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix last weekend, Ferrari had switched its focus to next year’s car.
The Italian team looks set to end the 2022 season second in the constructors’ championship to Red Bull – a competition the Milton Keynes could wrap up in Austin next weekend.
Ferrari’s seasons started well with two wins from the opening three races only for reliability, driver, and operational errors to blunt its title tilt.
Even allowing for the disappointment of defeat by Red Bull, the current campaign has been a successful one in the context of the Scuderia’s recent form. Charles Leclerc has won three times and Carlos Sainz once.
Ferrari did not record a single victory in 2020 or 2021 and managed just three in 2019. The 2022 season is therefore its most successful since Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen raced for the squad in 2018.
It continues the upward trajectory the team has been on since falling back in 2019, though the team’s Sporting Director, Laurent Mekies, admitted there is still more progress to make.
“It’s very important that we keep improving, and that’s what we’ve been saying all year long,” he said, reiterating comments made by Team Principal Mattia Binotto.
“We’ve made a great step these years but we are perfectly aware that there is more steps to come, and we are we are using every single race to improve as a team, to improve on how we deliver, and how we execute, and how we work together.”
Ferrari arguably started the year with the best package but has found itself out-gunned in recent races.
Red Bull dominated the Belgian Grand Prix as Formula 1 returned from its summer break, an event that coincided with changes implemented by the FIA regarding porpoising and flexible floors.
Ferrari has been denied that the performance drop seen by the scarlet cars has been a result of that, though there is evidence to suggest a correlation.
What is indisputable is that Red Bull has overtaken it on track; the RB18 can carry more wing than the F1-75, with the latter harder on its tyres – a key differentiator according to Binotto.
With regulations stable for next year, work for 2023 is happening in parallel to the effort being put into this year’s car, noting parts can be carried over – and probably will under the cost cap.
“I think it’s probably the focus of most teams right now,” Mekies said of the 2023 project.
“So certainly as far as we are concerned as far as the development of the car is concerned, yes. So the focus is now on 2023.
“It’s a fair thing, it’s two flows that goes in parallel: on one side the focus at the factory looks at the 2023 car development. On the other side of the racetrack, as we say, we want to fight for the wins, we want to take every single opportunity to become a sharper team.”