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Ferrari is finally back at the front of the F1 field. After three difficult seasons, including back-to-back winless years in 2020 and 2021, the Scuderia had a solid showing in 2022. What does Formula One have in store for Ferrari in 2023?
Things got off to a hot start last year, with Charles Leclerc winning the season opener in Bahrain, then following it up with a second place in Saudi Arabia and a dominant win in Australia.
But it all went wrong after that. Ferrari only scored two wins in the remaining 18 races, finishing a distant second to Red Bull in the constructors’ standings.
Overall, the result was a remarkable improvement compared to the previous seasons. But it is also undeniable that the drop in performance following the summer break made 2022 something of a mixed bag.
Can the team build up on its 2023 achievement and iron out the wrinkles?
Formula One Ferrari 2023 Team Preview: Can the Scuderia Improve on Its 2022 Form?
|2022 Constructors’ Standings||2nd (554 points)|
Heading into 2022, Ferrari was coming off two terrible years. After hitting wide off the mark with its 2019 car design, the Scuderia went winless in 2020 and 2021.
But the new aero regulations for 2022 sparkled some new life into the Maranello factory. The Scuderia’s F1-75 car impressed during pre-season testing, and carried over its form into the season. Ferrari scored a 1-2 in Bahrain, followed by another win in Australia.
After three races, the Italian team looked like the most dominant force in the field. Then, a poor run of results completely derailed Ferrari’s title aspirations. The team suffered from reliability issues throughout the season, and could not translate its impressive qualifying pace into further race wins.
On the positive side, Ferrari did build up a solid starting foundation for 2023. With only some minor regulation changes between seasons, the Scuderia’s 2022 success bodes well for the new season. The biggest issue: simply doing well probably won’t be good enough to beat Red Bull.
One of Ferrari’s bets to triumph over its main rival in 2023 is a swap at the top of the team’s hierarchy. Out goes Mattia Binotto, who had been at the helm since 2019, and in comes former Sauber and Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur.
Ferrari Drivers in F1 2023
With both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. signed through 2024, Ferrari will retain its pairing for a third consecutive season.
|2022 Drivers’ Standings||2nd (308 points)|
Leclerc was Verstappen’s closest challenger through the first half of the season. The Monegasque had a dream start, scoring two wins and a second place in the first three races to build a respectable 34-point lead in the standings.
But it all started to go wrong at Imola, when he spun out of third place. Leclerc then went on a poor run. After losing out to Verstappen in a close fight at the Miami Grand Prix, the Monegasque retired from a sizable lead in Spain with a broken engine. The following weekend, Leclerc saw a potential home win slip through his fingers as a result of Ferrari’s poor race strategy.
It was a glass half-empty, half-full season. On one hand, the 25-year old enjoyed his best year in F1, scoring career best in wins (3), poles (9), podiums (11) and points (308) to finish as the runner-up. On the other hand, one can’t help but imagine what could have been were it not for the team and driver errors.
Having fully matured into a team leader and potential title contender, will Leclerc take the fight to his longtime rival Max Verstappen in 2023?
Carlos Sainz Jr.
|2022 Drivers’ Standings||5th (246 points)|
Much like Leclerc, Sainz enjoyed a solid start to his season. The Spaniard finished second in Bahrain and third in Saudi Arabia, climbing to second in the standings.
But back-to-back first lap retirements in Australia and Imola ruined his chances. The 28-year old ultimately played second-fiddle to Leclerc for the remainder of the year. Sainz’s highlight was naturally his maiden win, which came at Silverstone on his 150th career start.
After starting on pole for the first time, Sainz put on a battling performance and even went toe-to-toe with Leclerc before letting his teammate through. A late safety car intervention allowed the Spaniard to pit for new tyres and overtake Leclerc, having to convince Ferrari along the way.
Overall, Sainz had a good season, but largely because of the Silverstone win. His form took an even bigger nosedive than Ferrari’s after the summer break. Finishing a distant fifth in the standings, behind George Russell, didn’t do him any favours either.
With the first win now out of the way, Sainz must do a better job in 2023 and find a way to recover his early 2022 form. Playing an effective wingman role to Leclerc while sprinkling in a win or two would be a realistic expectation.
F1 Ferrari Car 2023 – The SF-23
Ferrari unveiled its 2023 challenger on February 14. Charles Leclerc did the honors and took the new car for a shakedown at Fiorano that same day.
As most people expected, the SF-23 was an evolution of the relatively successful F1-75. On the front of the car, Ferrari made some wing and suspension changes.
The most controversial one was the addition of five slot gap separators on its front wing. Originally adopted by Mercedes last year, the concept was deemed illegal by the FIA. But a change in the rule’s wording for 2023 created a small breach, which Ferrari immediately jumped on.
Unlike its rivals, the SF-23 also has a very unique sidepod concept. While most teams have opted to lower their sidepods, Ferrari went the opposite way. Much like the F1-75, the SF-23 retains the distinctive “bathtub” shape instead of the more popular downwash ramp.
Ferrari ran a trouble-free program in Bahrain. Going through with its own testing program and without paying much attention to what the rivals were doing, the Scuderia succesuflly logged 417 laps – four more than Red Bull.
The SF-23 showed no reliability issues while running the third-most laps at Sakhir. For now, all indicators show that Ferrari will likely remain as the second force, and Red Bull’s main challenger in F1 2023.
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