Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur says changing their 2023 Formula 1 car concept mid-season "is not the best solution" to get them back fighting for Grand Prix wins.
Hopes were high in Maranello that the SF-23 machine would be an evolution from the 2022 car, with the team hitting all of their targets for the new challenger.
However, after six races, Ferrari have just one podium – a third place in Azerbaijan – to their name, although Charles Leclerc did take the only non-Red Bull pole of the year thus far in that Baku race.
But the car is now fourth-best after Aston Martin's giant leap forward and Mercedes' re-engineered their W14 to fit more conventional sidepods, with all three still a hefty chunk away from Red Bull and the RB19.
And Vasseur feels a change in SF-23 concept would not help the team win in 2023 owing to how late such upgrades would arrive.
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Vasseur on Ferrari concept
"There are a lot of questions, the first one is about the package," Vasseur told media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked if he'd be forced to chose between the car or the engineers if an upgrade did not work as intended in the Spanish Grand Prix.
"It's not just about the potential and package and upgrades, we also have to upgrade the car into a better window.
"The first target for us is not to just put downforce on the car, it is to be more consistent and on top of the car.
"We have big room for improvement with the current car in terms of performance, and the second [question] is do we have to restart from scratch on the group or on the car.
"I would say that as long as I am convinced we can improve the current car, it would be a mistake, during the season, to change completely the target, first for timeframe.
"Should the team decide today to, during the 2023 season, bring a completely different car, I think it will bring us to October and I am not sure it's the best solution to improve in the mid-term view.
"We already have next year's car in the wind tunnel and we are working on it, but to try to introduce a completely different car in the season, it is quite critical at this stage of the season."
Lacking in consistency
While the SF-23 remains a potent weapon in slow-speed corners, it is not as consistent as the 2022 car in other areas – something highlighted by Vasseur, who also explained some of the driver comments about the car being tricky to drive.
"You always have to stay calm, if the car was so difficult to drive, I can't imagine we would be one-tenth off [Max] Verstappen [in Monaco GP qualifying]," he said.
"Sometimes [the media] are jumping on the drivers five minutes after qualifying, and I can perfectly understand their frustration, but the comments that they are making half-an-hour later are a bit different.
"It's not about the qualifying for me, if we are suffering from something, it is [a lack of] consistency over the lap, over the race or from corner to corner and it's where we have to improve but mainly for the race, but we are working on it.
"We made a decent step, but it is true that in Miami we were too inconsistent, but we performed well and the first stint of Carlos [Sainz] was a very good one, so we have to understand this and come back stronger.
"It's not that we are off the pace [due to] potential [of the car], but let's see later for the concept."