Ferrari sidepod upgrades will offer ‘new door for development’

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc in the SF-23 with the revised sidepods. Spain June 2023

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in the SF-23 with the revised sidepods. Spain June 2023

Dropping their baby bath in-wash sidepods in favour of a downwash concept, Fred Vasseur says this is the first step in “opening some doors for the development” of the SF-23.

Without a win on the board in a season in which they are being trounced by Red Bull week in and week out, Ferrari arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya with a new-look car – the SF-23’s sidepods having undergone a major change.

Swapping to the Red Bull-styled downwash concept, Carlos Sainz ran the revised car in Friday’s first practice where he was 0.032s slower than Charles Leclerc, who was in the old spec, before both drivers ran the new upgrade in FP2.

Separated by 0.03s in the Monégasque driver’s favour, the teammates were three-tenths down on the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

This, team boss Vasseur says, is just the start of Ferrari’s new development path.

“It’s a change for sure,” he said, “but it’s not a new car also that we are making a step forward, we are opening some doors for the development for the future but it is not a complete change.” recommends

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Pressed as to what prompted the move away from the baby baths, the Frenchman admitted that was a “tough” decision but one Ferrari had to make.

“It’s also, for us, the opportunity to open a new door for the development of the future and it was quite promising,” he said.

“It means that we committed on this way that let’s see what the next weeks we will bring to us. But I think it was a tough decision, but it was a decision.”

Vasseur is confident the upgrades are a step in the right direction, not a “huge one” though.

“From this upgrade, we’re expecting a step forward, not a huge one, but a step forward,” he said.

“Also to open some doors for the future in terms of development, and we will have other upgrades coming in the next couple of races and it’s an opportunity also to take another direction but even with this one, we are expecting to do a step forward.”

After six grands prix Ferrari are fourth in the championship with 90, 159 behind runaway championship leaders Red Bull.