‘These are illegal’: Ferrari bracing for FIA punishment

Mercedes weren't allowed to use an upgraded front wing at the Mexican Grand Prix last season after the FIA tweaked the rules.

Formula 1 technical expert Craig Scarborough has questioned the front wing used by Ferrari at the launch of their 2023 car last Tuesday, with the SF-23 appearing to boast a front wing similar to the one that Mercedes had banned by the FIA last season.

At the Mexican Grand Prix last year, Mercedes attempted to use an upgraded front wing, which featured some fin-shaped pods.

The FIA updated their rules to ensure that front wings like the one Mercedes took to Mexico would be banned, at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in December.

Interestingly, though, Ferrari’s front wing from their launch was remarkably similar to the one Mercedes had banned, something Scarborough noticed.

READ: ‘You guys like the headlines’: Esteban Ocon admits he won’t be ‘best friends’ with Pierre Gasly

“On the front of the car is the slot gap separators, the little supports that hold the little bits in between the front wing,” Scarborough said on former Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor’s YouTube channel.

“Now they’ve copied something that Mercedes brought last year, which were these fin-shaped ones. Ferrari are done them ever-so slightly differently.”

Given that Scarborough is certain that the wing used by Ferrari is “illegal”, the F1 expert believes Ferrari may have been simply playing mind games with the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull, who would’ve likely watched the Italians launch intently.

Scarborough wonders if Ferrari did this to stop their rivals from looking at “some other little details”, with him being all but certain that the front wing used by the Maranello-based team at their launch, won’t feature in Bahrain.

Article continues below

“To my understanding, I think these are illegal.

“I think this is a bit of subterfuge, just something to catch people’s eyes and maybe not look at some other little details on the car. That’s quite interesting. Personally, I don’t expect to see those vanes on the car when we get to the first race.”

If Ferrari are trying to catch out Mercedes and Red Bull, then it suggests that the Italians mean business in the forthcoming season.

READ: Zak Brown reacts to Lando Norris ‘noise’ amid Red Bull links

The rumours coming out of Maranello have been very positive over the winter, with new team principal Frederic Vasseur having revealed himself that the team are “all optimistic” about the challenger they’ve built.

“If you don’t have the reliability, then you are not able to do these three days and then you start on the wrong foot,” Vasseur said, as reported by the Express.

“We have done the mileage we needed to do on the dyno and we are all optimistic, but only Bahrain will tell is where we are in terms of engine performance. So far it is ok.”