Ferrari suggest concept change after being ‘killed’ by Red Bull
By Ian Parkes
Friday 31st March, 2023 - 3:37am
Carlos Sainz has highlighted the fundamental issues with Ferrari’s car concept that is threatening to allow Red Bull to run away with this year’s F1 championships.
After two races of the season, and on very different tracks in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the RB19 has proven it is a car that is strong through all corners and on different surfaces.
Ferrari’s SF-23, in contrast, whilst close to challenging Red Bull on qualifying pace, has been found wanting in the two races, notably suffering from severe tyre degradation that has also left it trailing Aston Martin and Mercedes in the pecking order.
Sainz has confirmed a detailed analysis has been undertaken at the Scuderia’s headquarters at Maranello which has unearthed the problems with the car.
“This year, we expected at least to find ourselves in a similar position (compared to last year) but unfortunately there’s a team named Red Bull that has killed the opposition by coming up with a car that is clearly superior to everyone else,” said Sainz.
“We are a bit puzzled because we thought last year we had nailed it, but clearly as the cars have developed, the capacity of development of the Red Bull direction is a lot higher than the capacity of development of our project.
“This has put us on the back foot. Now we have to react and we have to react quickly. If not they are going to run away with it.”
The differences between the two cars are stark, with Sainz adding: “At the moment, the Red Bull is superior everywhere – in quali, in race pace, in straight-line speed.
“They are superior in medium, low-speed corners, with tyre management, over the kerbs and bumps, so it just shows that we clearly need to change something.”
Ferrari has manpower to react – Sainz
The good news for Ferrari is that the changes required are unlikely to be as deep as those being undertaken by Mercedes.
That team is currently pursuing a development direction far removed from its current aerodynamic concept which has resulted in a thorough overhaul of the entire car.
Sainz is also now suggesting, however, Ferrari has got it wrong, with its own development and the capacity that was available masked by its superb start to last year, at least with Charles Leclerc at the wheel given the Spanish driver’s early struggles.
“The extremely good performance at the start of last season made us keep pushing with this concept, with this project of car,” said Sainz.
“But I think we realise now that Red Bull has a clear advantage everywhere and that we need to start looking to our right and to our left.”
Declaring there to be “no fundamental issue with the car”, Sainz added: “It’s just a very peaky car, a very unpredictable car in the race.
“It eats the tyres quite a lot, so it’s just we need to improve our package. It’s just too peaky and we need to find a way to calm it down a bit, which is what also makes the car difficult in the race.
“The good thing is that everyone knows it. We know it at the race track, they know it in Maranello, and the good thing is Ferrari has the manpower, the capacity to react.
“If we all push in the same direction, I’m convinced this team can turn it around – not in a short period of time, but in a medium period of time.”
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