Ferrari scrambling to bring upgrades to Imola instead of Barcelona

Frederic Vasseur has insisted Ferrari cannot drastically change their SF-23 during the 2023 season.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has opened up on how the team intends to develop their SF-23 challenger throughout the rest of the 2023 season, following a disappointing start that has seen their concept fail to leapfrog Red Bull.

The Prancing Horse has endured a miserable start to the season, with their 26 points so far making for their worst start after three races since 2014.

Neither Charles Leclerc nor Carlos Sainz have been able to finish on the podium thus far, with both drivers struggling to get to grips with the car and unable to maximise their performance as a result.

The slow start, combined with last season’s title challenge capitulating in the second half of 2022, has called into question the effectiveness of Ferrari’s current design concept, which differs significantly in looks to that of the more successful RB19.

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As such, there is a suggestion that Vasseur’s team will scrap the current philosophy and align with the Red Bull concept in time, although the Frenchman has played down ideas that the SF-23 could look drastically different this season.

“To do a new project during the season, to start from scratch, to do a new car with the cost cap first but also considering the restriction of windtunnel time, I don’t want to say that it’s impossible but it’s very difficult,” he explained, via The Race, and added that there is still room to improve with the current philosophy.

“Also, we have the feeling – and I hope that we are right and we are going in the right direction – that we still have tonnes of room for improvement on the car.

“As long as we are still able to develop the car to get points on the aero, to get a better balance, to get better stability and so on, I think it makes sense to push in this direction.”

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Despite Leclerc feeling quietly confident after a positive Friday practice in Australia, Ferrari’s weekend fell apart with qualifying proving difficult and the race imploding in front of them.

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The Monegasque driver was taken out at turn three of the first lap, before Sainz fought through a chaotic afternoon at Albert Park to finish the race, only to receive a five-second penalty that saw him finish out of the points at the very end.

Vassuer insisted that the team brought ‘good’ upgrades to Melbourne and will try to speed up the upcoming upgrades where possible, but they will not be rushed.

“We can’t change the plan massively after three races. We will adapt due to the circumstances, we will speed up, we will put all the resources to speed up the process and the updates that were planned for Barcelona will come in Imola and we will have the updates in advance at one or two races.

“But you can’t change massive things.”