Ferrari’s inconsistency due to ‘something intrinsic we don’t fully understand’

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Ferrari’s inconsistency in 2023 is due to a core lack of understanding of how their car works, according to Carlos Sainz Jnr.

The team’s form varied across the first half of the 2023 season, leaving them fourth in the constructors’ championship behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin.

However, Ferrari were the closest to Red Bull at the previous round in Spa-Francorchamps prior to the summer break. Sainz says the SF-23 has been difficult for his team to understand over the first part of the season.

“I think it’s no secret that this year we’ve lacked some consistency from the car,” said Sainz. “It’s very difficult to predict which circuits we’re going to be quick on and which we are not going to be quick.

“I think the best example was the difference between Hungary and Spa. I think when you see our car, we expected Hungary to be a good weekend, we expected Spa to be a weaker one and it was actually the opposite. Which shows that there is maybe something intrinsic that we don’t fully understand and we cannot predict very well. And this unpredictability, this lack of understanding is exactly what we are focusing on to try and piece together everything. This is where our focus is going to be this weekend.”

Sainz says Ferrari are using every kilometre of running time they have on track to try and better understand their car and inform the design for their 2024 car.

“We are FP1s, FP2s every weekend trying something different to try and understand these regulations and try to see where we may be lacking compared to obviously the reference – Red Bull – and how we can make the 2024 car quicker,” he explained.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“We’re also spending a lot of time in the simulator trying different things and just spending more time than ever really on getting the system turned around and putting everything that we can into place to get ourselves in a better place for next year.”

Ferrari particularly suffered more than their rivals with tyre degradation earlier in the season. Sainz says their qualifying performance is especially crucial to determining the points they can gain on Sundays.

“Obviously in the second half of the season, on the good side of things, the car always offers some good opportunities in qualifying to maybe qualify a bit ahead of what the race pace of the car might be – and if you do a good lap in quali, maybe you can hold on to a podium place, if you then have a smooth race without too many troubles,” he said.

“So the focus will be in getting the car again quick in the race, mainly and try to hold onto those good qualifying sessions if we have the opportunity.”

Asked how he feels Ferrari could go this weekend in Zandvoort, Sainz admitted “I don’t know.”

“If you look at the track you could say it should be a better one for us,” he suggested. “But then you look at Hungary and it wasn’t. So it is extremely difficult to predict right now for us this year.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“Also, I think the fact that the field is so tight with Mercedes, now McLaren joining us, there is still Aston Martin and obviously Red Bull ahead of us. We are all within a tenth or two tenths of each other, every quali and every race. And if you know you’re going to come out on top of or behind of that battle, it means you can qualify P2 or P3, or qualify P8 or P9. So this performance swing or, let’s say, the result for such a small performance swing is huge. So I think it will be tight again this weekend.”

Sainz’s team mate Charles Leclerc admitted he no longer wishes to predict how quick Ferrari will be each race weekend based on track layouts.

“Honestly, I don’t want to go too much into that any more,” Leclerc said in response to a question from RaceFans.

“We’ve had some races where we expected things that weren’t in line and that’s why I was speaking about consistency just now – that’s really where we have to focus. Because even the characteristics of the layouts in itself is not really representative anymore.

“For some reason, there are so many more things and we are starting to understand all of those things. But it’s not really about track layout anymore, so I don’t really know what to expect yet.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing 1 per month or 12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Dutch Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

7 comments on “Ferrari’s inconsistency due to ‘something intrinsic we don’t fully understand’”

  1. Interesting how many of these big well financed teams are struggling to understand / get a good grip on what their car does when. Ferrari, Mercedes clearly were struggling with that too.

    1. @bascb It’s a very hard part to understand if you use groundeffect floors even Red Bull has problems to setup the car sometimes because what they thought isn’t what they got on track. (Brasil 2022, Canada 2023 for example)
      Only with a lot of test runs in wind tunnels could you solve this and that isn’t what the big teams doesn’t have (See Astin Martin) but the teams with a lot of windtimes can try a lot of combinations finding one more easier.

  2. pizza_pazzo2004
    24th August 2023, 21:29


    1. You should be the one being thrown out for constantly trolling threads.

      1. pizza_pazzo2004
        25th August 2023, 14:26

        ANON OUT

        1. Hahaha!

  3. Tyres. All the inconsistency is down to tyres and their complicated operating windows.

Comments are closed.