Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari, Zandvoort, 2023

Ferrari are “crystal clear” about car’s weaknesses

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Ferrari’s head of chassis development does not share driver Carlos Sainz Jnr’s view that the team do not understand the limitations of their car.

The team have experienced swings in form from race to race in the battle behind Red Bull at the front of the field. Yesterday Sainz suggested that Ferrari’s inconsistent performance throughout 2023 so far was down to “something intrinsic that we don’t fully understand”.

However, Enrico Cardile, Ferrari’s head of chassis area, says the team completely understand why their performance is so inconsistent.

“For us, it is crystal clear what we did wrong with the car,” Cardile insisted. “What the weaknesses are is clear – it’s not a matter of our understanding what we should do.

“Now for the future it’s a matter of delivering a good product where we cope with the targets we have. We know what we have to do, it’s a matter of doing, it’s a matter of finding the right contents of the car, the right architecture of the car to achieve the target.

“The other point is this car is consistent during the rest of weekend in terms of behaviour, but sometimes this behaviour changes from track to track. In Hungary, we had a difficult time. In Belgium, the performance was back. So sometimes it happens, but then during the weekend the car behaviour is consistent and we can work on it.

“On this track, we dedicated FP1 to a specific test to better tune our tools to better operate the car this year and to have data to improve the behaviour of the car next year. But I disagree with Carlos.”

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Cardile, a trained aerospace engineer who joined Ferrari with their sports car division in 2005 before becoming a part of the F1 team in 2016, says that the team recognise that their aerodynamic limitations and have been working hard to address them.

“We think that our main weakness is on the aero characteristics of the car,” he explained. “So all the focus since [testing] when it’s been pretty clear that we were not at the level that we expected to be, the weakness for the front was coming from there. So all the focus, all the efforts has been since [testing] on improving the aero characteristics of the car.”

Rather than struggling to figure out the performance deficits that exist with their car, Cardile says the team have consistent data that reinforces their understanding of their car.

“We have been lucky, because the comments of the drivers has been always aligned between the sim and track and aligned with the data we gather from the car,” Cardile said. “So we can see what we are complaining with.

“We are a bit progressed through the development of this car, improving some characteristic of the car. But the pace we are developing the car is obviously not satisfactory because we are still far from the blue guys there.”

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2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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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...

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11 comments on “Ferrari are “crystal clear” about car’s weaknesses”

  1. Interesting that he would be so conident they know what and how the car is doing, but the drivers don’t feel it. So, is that about communication within the team? Or just not listening to all of that feeback?

    Both drivers have said that the car is not handling great.

    1. @bascb
      The communication within the team is amateurish to say the least. Even a karting team consisting of ~20 individuals could communicate far more effectively by comparison.

      1. Yeah, it is one of the things where the Ferrari team really feels amateurish on a level we don’t see much in F1 (I guess Alpine comes closests and Haas has had bouts of it as well in recent years) @tifoso1989.

        I’d say that today’s FP2 again showed that IF they know what the issue is, they sure don’t seem to be doing a good job of mitigating it, because I think all three drivers would wholly subscribe to Schwarzmann’s assessment of it being “a handfull” as an understatement.

    2. Understanding the problem and solving it are two different things. I’m sure the engineers understand what is happening, but trying to address these deficits in such a complex balance is always going to be tough because making changes will inevitably upset other parts of said balance. It’s why simply copying a part of another car doesn’t generally work (although if you go all the way it might; see Racing Point in 2020).

      That Sainz sees these issues as a driver and interprets things somewhat differently is understandable, he’s neither trained nor hired to understand the intricacies of the car.

  2. pizza_pazzo2004
    25th August 2023, 16:14


  3. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    25th August 2023, 16:45

    Maybe time to drop Sainz.

  4. Coventry Climax
    25th August 2023, 18:17

    I’d have liked to have him say all this in italian. This ‘english’ version (his own?) resembles the garbage that comes out of google translate.

    So the head of chassis development does not communicate his findings to the drivers, apparently. Which leaves us with the question whether the heads of the other departments were informed, or even worse, do the people at Ferrari communicate with each other at all?

  5. Sorry, but after reading that ‘word-salad’ its pretty clear Sainz is correct, Ferrari does not know why the car is inconsistent

  6. Don’t tell us you know what’s wrong, show up with a competitive car and we’ll know you know what was wrong.

  7. We know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. We are fundamentally struggling with the unknown knowns; that is to say the things we don’t know we know.

  8. The wording is typically a translation, and probably a bad one considering the technical nature of the subject, but he doesn’t sound like he knows what’s wrong when he says things like – “We Think it’s this or that”, when you really do understand the problem, it follows that the solution is obvious!

    Add to that the fact that neither driver has been educated as to the cause suggests that the Engineers “DO NOT” understand fully. It’s probably more embarrassment than anything else making it feel like he’s under attack from the two drivers – either way he’s not covering himself in glory with a passionate outflowing such as that above.

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