Ferrari beam wing trial suffers a major wobble in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix

Michelle Foster
Scuderia Ferrari SF-23 rear wing. Bahrain February 2023

Scuderia Ferrari SF-23 rear wing. Bahrain February 2023

Ferrari were once again forced to remove a new beam wing from their car, this time because of excessive movement as it wobbled from side to side on Charles Leclerc’s SF-23.

Not for the first time Ferrari trialled a new beam wing, opting to do comparison tests during the opening practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

But, as with testing, it didn’t go to plan.

Ferrari initially ran the beam wing on the final day of pre-season testing, one equipped with a mono-pylon support, but problems with the right side flap of the DRS meant they were forced to revert to their medium load wing.

However, less than a week later – the opening race of the new season scheduled for the weekend after testing – and the single-pylon wing was back on the car but just Leclerc’s.

Ferrari trialled it during Friday’s opening practice with the aim of improving the stability of the SF-23. It is also expected to help with downforce.

Stability, though, was questionable at best looking in from the outside with rear wing rocked from side to side.

Back in the garage Ferrari mechanics were seen removing it from Leclerc’s car, swapping to the same double-pylon rear wing that his team-mate Carlos Sainz was running.

As a result of the rocking and its effect on performance, team boss Frederic Vasseur explained the wing won’t be used again for the remainder of the weekend.

“It was a test item that we were not able to do last week during the test,” Vasseur told media, including, after FP1.

“We tried to to use it this morning but, as you saw, it was not very positive. We won’t run it during the weekend, but it will be back soon.”

Despite the setback Leclerc, P5 in the opening practice session, is confident this season Formula 1 will see an improved Ferrari, not just the car but the team as a whole.

“Yes I am confident, we have great guys in Maranello, I think we have shown it by the huge step forward we did from 2021 to 2022,” said Leclerc.

“There were too many mistakes in 2022 and we know that, we’ve been very honest with ourselves about 2022 in order to get better for this season and I’m sure we will.

“So the target is still that, and even if we are starting a little bit on the back foot compared to them in terms of performance I’m sure that we can come back.”

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The opening practice hour of the season saw Sergio Perez set the pace by four-tenths ahead of Fernando Alonso, the Aston Martin driver living up to the pre-season hype as he split the Red Bull team-mates.

Lando Norris, despite tails of doom and gloom surrounding McLaren, was fourth ahead of Leclerc.