Ferrari bracing for FIA investigation as SF-23 raises eyebrows

Carlos Sainz drove Ferrari's 2023 car during the morning session on the opening day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

The opening morning of pre-season testing was a peculiar one for Ferrari, with the Italians having faced two interesting issues at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Carlos Sainz was behind the wheel of the SF-23 during the opening session, where it looked fascinatingly like he was experiencing porpoising.

Ferrari did suffer from the bouncing phenomena in 2022; however, not to the extent that the likes of Mercedes did.

Porpoising isn’t expected to be seen this season due to the floor edges having been raised by 15mm, following a new regulation by the FIA.

READ: Helmut Marko makes Ferrari engine claim ahead of Bahrain testing

The reason for Sainz’s porpoising, though, is believed to be due to the side having simply experimented with their ride height, as identified by ex-F1 driver Anthony Davidson.

“Maybe they are just starting to sneak the car down,” Davidson said.

“You see the bouncing through turn 12. Sparking away there at the rear. They are starting to test things by dropping the car lower and lower. Porpoising, bouncing hasn’t gone away this year.

“It will always be a problem, with a ground effects car it will also be a problem.”

Article continues below

Ferrari’s biggest issue of the morning, though, was to do with their nose, after a dimple bizarrely appeared.

Whilst watching a slow-mo of Sainz driving down the start/finish straight, it was identified that a dimple appeared on the car’s nose due to the aero pressure, before filling back out when braking for Turn One.

Ferrari confirmed that the dimple wasn’t planned and was indeed a fault; however, one that can be easily fixed.

Whilst it can be fixed, veteran reporter Ted Kravitz decided to name Ferrari’s 2023 car ‘dimple’, given the issue.

READ: Nigel Mansell announces disappointing news

“There is a dimple around the Santander logo and the Ferrari logo,” Kravitz said.

“So if we are looking for a name for this Ferrari apart from SF-23 in the manner that Sebastian Vettel liked to name his car, why don’t we call this one dimple?

“At speed there was a little dimple on the nose… It’s a very thin carbon fibre ply that is just giving way a little bit under aero pressure basically.

“If you imagine it, the crash structure of the Ferrari nose cone actually goes either side of that dimple. To save weight and everything else it’s hollow in the middle and that’s why there’s a little bit of give in the carbon fibre and it’s getting that dimple.”