Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc believe Ferrari’s performance at Formula 1’s 2023 British Grand Prix was derailed by inconsistency, which recent upgrades are thought to have rectified.
Leclerc and Sainz went from fourth and fifth to ninth and 10th in the Silverstone stage, both failing from a mid-race safety car that compromised strategy and left them on weak tyres.
Despite continued criticism of Ferrari’s strategy, Sainz defended what he considered a “50-50” call and instead blamed the car’s inconsistency, which was exacerbated by strong winds.
Despite playing a revised platform for the Miami GP as part of an improved run to the 2022 British GP, 2022 British GP winner Sainz reckoned his lap would vary by 0.4s as the SF-23 proved unpredictable. To make the car more harmless.
Sainz explained: “Very windy, very tricky car to drive again, very difficult to stay consistent in these conditions… We struggled a lot with traction in all the tailwind.
“We couldn’t get the power and the tough tire fight and everything made it very tricky.
“We know it’s our weakness, we know where it is. We see it in the wind tunnel, we see it in our car, we see it when we drive it, we see it emotionally. So, it’s a growing thing.
“At least we’ve made some more progress. But again, Silverstone has pushed us back to a point where we know we have to improve the car.”
This sensitivity to varying conditions “exposes” the Ferrari at different circuit types.
Sainz continued: “It’s not a big deal for us because we’re very dependent on the wind and the track conditions and the track temperature for our own performance, which will expose us a bit on some weekends.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523
Photo: Zak Mauger / Motorsport films
He continued: “Obviously Tyr [degradation]Tire energies, wind sensitivities, the unpredictability of the car, one lap I was 0.3s or 0.4s faster than others because of the wind speed, so we still have to focus on that.”
Leclerc said the car, which is flawed in high-speed corners, becomes “too harsh” when operating from its sweet spot.
He said: “There is still a long way to go because at the moment, we seem to be very sensitive to changing conditions.
“When I say change of conditions, I mostly mean the wind. When the wind changes our car becomes more difficult.
“In that, we have made progress, but there are still big steps to be taken.
“We knew this track would be one of our worst tracks. It’s one of the car’s weaknesses because of the high-speed corners.
“I believe we know why we are struggling. It is clear to us that we are putting a lot of pressure on the development, especially the high-speed corners.”