Ferrari ditch Leclerc prototype wing

The rear wing seen on Charles Leclerc's car above in Bahrain FP1 will not be used again this weekend

The rear wing seen on the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc above in Bahrain FP1 will not be used again this weekend

Ferrari has opted to ditch a prototype rear wing run by Charles Leclerc during first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The first hour-long session of the 2023 F1 campaign was largely uneventful for all of the teams bar Ferrari.

Initially, the rear wing on Leclerc’s SF-23 was seen wobbling from side to side around 20 minutes into the run at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Later in the session, team-mate Carlos Sainz was forced into the pits after suffering a spin out of Turn 9, with the rear-right of his car appearing to bottom out before sending the Spaniard off track.

The wing in particular, however, proved to be a cause for concern, with team principal Fred Vasseur confirming it will not run again this weekend.

“It was a test item we were unable to run last week,” said Vasseur, referring to the three-day pre-season test in Bahrain.

“We tried to run it today but as you saw it was not very positive. We won’t run the wing over the weekend but it will be back soon.”

Red Bull out front -Vasseur

Whilst little can be read into first practice, there was a notable surprise in that Sainz finished at the bottom of the timesheet.

That was behind a Red Bull one-three spearheaded by Sergio Perez, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso sandwiching the Mexican from his two-time champion team-mate Max Verstappen.

Sainz finished 3.3s behind Perez, whilst Leclerc was fifth quickest, 1.5s off the pace.

Assessing where he feels Ferrari is in the pecking order, Vasseur added: “So far, for sure, Red Bull is a step ahead.

“But the season is 23 races. We’ve not even done the first one, we’ve had just FP1 and it’s a long way to go.

“I think last year for the team was a good lesson, that the championship is not over after race one. We know we have a long way to go and we have to develop the car over the season.”

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