Ferrari’s technical chiefs have opened up on the detailed changes made to the team’s brand-new challenger for 2023, the SF-23.
The Italian team began the latest ground effect era by emphatically securing a 1-2 at the opening race of 2022, but its F1-75 quickly fell behind in the development rate as the season progressed against a rapidly improving Red Bull outfit.
Despite the visual appearance of the car largely resembling that of its predecessor, the team’s top technical brass has argued the SF-23 has undergone a complete redesign as Ferrari aims to address the glaring weaknesses of last year’s package.
“Our 2023 car is an evolution of the one we raced last year,” Ferrari’s Head of Chassis Area, Enrico Cardile, clarified after the launch of the team’s new car at Fiorano.
“But, in reality, it has been completely redesigned.
“On the aerodynamic side, we increased vertical downforce, to adapt further to the new aero regulations and achieve the desired balance characteristics.
“The suspension has also been redesigned, to support aerodynamics and increase the range of adjustments that can be made to the car at the track.
“The most obvious changes are in the area of the front suspension where we have moved to a low track rod. The front wing is also different, as is the construction of the nose, while the bodywork is a more extreme version of what we saw last season.”
Reliability was another substantial weakness that played a significant role in Ferrari eventually suffering a damaging defeat to Red Bull, with Charles Leclerc suffering costly terminal engine failures from the lead in both Azerbaijan and Spain.
That series of problems proved detrimental to its ambitions beyond the races its drivers failed to reach the finish in as it forced Ferrari to run their power units in a lower engine mode for the remainder of the season at the cost of performance.
Although improvements to performance are prohibited under the engine freeze ruling until the new powertrain regulations are introduced in 2026, enhancements to reliability can continue to be made at the discretion of the sport’s governing body, the FIA.
Understandably, as a result of their widespread issues in 2022, it’s an area Ferrari has worked hard to rectify over the winter, according to its Head of Power Unit Area, Enrico Gualtieri.
“Preparation work for the new season is usually one of the busiest times of the year and this winter was no exception,” he claimed.
“PUs have been frozen since last year, including fluids, oil, and fuel and the only modifications allowed are those related to reliability, which was our Achilles Heel last season.
“We focused on the internal combustion engine and the electric motors. At the same time, we tried to capitalise on the experience gained on track last season and looked at all the feedback and signs of weakness from the PU components we used. We also revised our assembly procedures.
“We tried to understand the root causes of the problems we encountered on track and used all our available tools to try and solve them.
“It involved all areas, from design to experimentation to try and test new solutions in a very short space of time. The work never ends, based on continuous improvement of the components to try and reach the required level of reliability.”
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