Ferrari reveal reason for sacrificing a ‘bit of performance’ in Brazil

Michelle Foster
Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz out on track.

Charles Leclerc stuck his SF-23 up into second place while Carlos Sainz was seventh.

Ferrari have raised the ride height of the SF-23s for the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Scuderia determined to avoid a repeat of their Austin disqualification.

This weekend Formula 1 is hosting its final Sprint of the season meaning the teams had just one practice hour on Friday to find the optimum set-up for the cars.

Ferrari, though, thought they’d done that at the last Sprint at the United States Grand Prix with the Scuderia examining the cars after FP1 and finding no issues with the skid.

Ferrari playing on the ‘safe side’ in Brazil

However, at the end of the 56-lap Grand Prix it was a very different story with Charles Leclerc’s car inspected by the FIA and thrown out of the race after his skid was found to be thinner than the required 9mm.

Mercedes suffered the same fate as Lewis Hamilton was also disqualified for the same infringement.

Both teams blamed the bumps at the Circuit of The Americas and the Sprint format, the latter meaning they had just one hour of practice.

And with Interlagos a Sprint weekend and one that’s taking place on a bumpy circuit, Ferrari are determined to avoid a repeat situation.

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“Clearly in Austin, we were caught out,” Ferrari sporting director Diego Ioverno told reporters at Interlagos. “We have reviewed all what happened in that weekend and we understood what could we have done differently.

“Obviously we are going to apply that because that feeling [of disqualification], I hope we will not live anymore because it is really tough to be thrown out.

“But others did a better job, and we have to learn and move forward. I think we did.

“I can guarantee you that we are on the, let’s say, safe side here. It’s always a trade-off because to be a bit safer, you have to give away a bit of performance, but it is worth the effort.”

The trade-off didn’t seem to hurt Ferrari during Friday’s qualifying with Leclerc sticking his SF-23 up into second place while Carlos Sainz was seventh.

It, however, was a one-lap shoot-out as a storm hit the circuit midway through Q3 and forced the session to be aborted.

Read next: Winners and losers from the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying