Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Ferrari’s “new direction” upgrade was “supposed to come a lot later in the season”

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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The upgrade Ferrari has brought for its cars at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix was originally planned to appear much later in the season, according to Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Ferrari brought the upgrade forward following its disappointing start to the season. The team which led the early stages of last year’s world championship lies fourth in the standings and has only scored one podium so far this year.

“You cannot imagine the effort Maranello has done in trying to bring this package forward,” said Sainz. “It was supposed to come a lot later in the season and the whole factory was just flat-out these last few months, because of the situation, to try and bring it earlier.”

The changes to the SF-23 are “a bit of a new direction a bit into what we believe should be the right path into developing this car,” said Sainz. He is hoping it will make it “more of a drive-able car, more consistent, better in the race – that we know is our main weakness.”

“You’ve seen it hasn’t been an easy start to the season and we’ve been struggling,” he admitted. “But it is true that with this first step into this direction, we try and correct the deficiencies we have.

“We also know that this upgrade is not going to change our life from one race to another. It’s the first step of many steps to come still.”

Sainz’s team mate Charles Leclerc said the team is “not expecting any big miracles, to be honest” from its changes, but hopes it signals the beginning of regular improvements from the team.

“From now on, we want to try and bring some small upgrades every race. This one should go in the right direction, but I don’t think it will be a massive change.”

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Leclerc expects the changes will do more for the car’s drive-ability than its sheer performance.

“The thing is that we have an extremely peaky car,” he said. “In qualifying on the one-lap pace with new tyres, the wind, we know exactly how to drive the car, it’s okay.

“But as soon as we go a little bit out of those conditions we lose so much downforce overall. We have been working a lot on that with this new car, so this will help us. Not gain that much performance, but to at least be a bit more consistent throughout the weekend, which hopefully will help us to have a better result on the Sunday.”

The Circuit de Catalunya, scene of this weekend’s race, is the ideal venue to test the upgrade, Leclerc added.

“Barcelona is known for [being] probably the best track to understand exactly where you are with the car. So I think it’s really good to have these new upgrades here and to understand where are we so we can confirm still our weaknesses.

“I think in our mind, even though we’ve had very different tracks, it’s very clear for us where we need to work, and that is mostly on race pace and having a car that is a bit easier to drive. I think this is a perfect track to see whether this upgrade is going in the right direction for us.”

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2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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4 comments on “Ferrari’s “new direction” upgrade was “supposed to come a lot later in the season””

  1. Spain is going to be a bad circuit for Ferrari given how it chews through its tyres, but maybe the low temperatures and expected rain can nullify this.

    1. patrick Murphy
      3rd June 2023, 10:57

      Or perhaps the upgrades brought will help with that, there’s new suspension as well.

  2. From the weather forecast i see low temperatures for this time of the year in Spain so maybe this will give an extra boost to Ferrari not to chew the tyres.

  3. RBResque sidepods and revised floor hopefully make an advancement.
    Now if drivers and personnel can keep calm and carry on hopefully at least one driver can mount the podium. Umm let me rephrase that stand on the podium.

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