Ferrari is striving to bring updates for its SF-23 earlier than planned following its disappointing start to the new season.Red Bull last year is languishing in fourth in the standings after three races, almost 100 points behind the reigning champions.
Rivals Mercedes, who also began the season far off Red Bull’s pace, have responded by committing to an extensive overhaul of their car. However Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur said they intend to persist with the original development direction.
“It’s not a ‘B car’,” he told media including RaceFans. “We won’t come with something completely different. We will continue to update this one and try to update massively.”
The team’s update plan for the coming races will be dictated partly by the nature of the tracks F1 will race at. The long straights of Baku City Circuit demand a low-downforce set-up, and as the race is a sprint event teams will have less time than usual to evaluate any updates brought to Azerbaijan.
The extreme demands of Monaco also requires a specific package, but Ferrari will bring updates at other races over the coming rounds.
“We have a flow of updates,” said Vasseur. “Some will come not at Baku, because at Baku we have the aero package for the level of downforce, [and] with the sprint races it’s not the easiest one.
“But from Miami, Imola, not Monaco but Barcelona, each race we will have an update on the car. We are sticking to the plan. We made some adjustment in terms of balance and the behaviour and it was much better in Melbourne and we’ll continue on this direction.”
Vasseur admitted the constraints of F1’s budget cap and aerodynamic testing regulations make it hard for teams to pursue radical changes in car design.
“With the restriction in the wind tunnel if you have to start from scratch, I don’t want to say that it makes no sense, but it is very difficult,” he said. “It means that 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 one or two races the update in advance. But you can’t change massively something in the course of the season.”
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2023 F1 season
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- Suzuka showed Mercedes can no longer expect tyre degradation advantage