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Ferrari

The aero 'peakiness' problems Ferrari must solve to give drivers confidence back

Ferrari drivers are being left chasing car setup most weekends due to lack of confidence with the SF-23.

Leclerc Miami
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

One of the main areas where Ferrari has struggled in the opening races of the 2023 Formula 1 season has been tyre degradation.

Initially it looked like the opening races in the scorching temperatures of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were exacerbating the problem, with Carlos Sainz saying in Bahrain that it was their "biggest weakness" whenever he wanted to push the tyres.

This has become a main trait of the SF-23 that carried over from the F1-75, and the team has attempted to rectify it by working on setups and introducing upgrades. But even this has been has taken the team longer than expected to understand, but Jock Clear says they have made progress in recent races.

"I think with a new aero package over the winter, we've taken a while to find the setup. We know that we made some progress in Australia and certainly we made some big progress in Azerbaijan," said Clear to media, including RacingNews365.com.

Single lap pace drops off in the race

It's no secret that Ferrari has a car that is capable of putting in competitive times against Red Bull over a single lap, as their performance in Bahrain in the high-speed sections and Baku with the medium-speed corners showed.

But even with the upgrades on their car in Miami, the problems in the race reared their ugly head again as Sainz described having "zero flexibility" to push on the Hard tyres - even though Pirelli said they experienced less degradation than expected on the compound.

"I'm surprised with how much we struggled on the Hard tyres after our very strong start on the Medium. We tried the undercut on Fernando [Alonso] which did work but it meant pushing the tyres for three or four laps to get the undercut," said Sainz.

"For some reason with our car right now we have zero flexibility with how much we can push, I had to stay under the limit for the rest of the race if I wanted to make it to the end. With the windy conditions, how tough we are on tyres, that Hard stint became too much for us."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Clear: Aero peakiness the main issue

Ferrari's main upgrades in Miami were to the floor which focused mainly on tweaking the geometry of the airflow between the front and middle of the diffuser.

Clear says this was an attempt to make the car more predictable for drivers and to get rid of any aerodynamic "peakiness" that was happening that often led to it being unpredictable through high-speed and low-speed corners.

"This floor contributes again to getting the car in a better window, and as the drivers are reporting earlier on, that it is 'peaky' so we need to get rid of some of that peakiness," he explained.

"That's probably the main focus at the moment is to make the car a bit more benign, so the drivers have to have a bit more confidence."

We know much of the updates planned for Imola will focus more on increasing the car's lower aerodynamic efficiency, which should enable them to have better management of the ride heights and have better control over extreme car setups.

Whether it will be enough to address their "inconsistencies" in the race will be key as they look to turn around their fortunes and translate their qualifying pace into a race-long challenge against Red Bull.

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