Martin Brundle believes it is “a bit odd” that Ferrari were not able to get their car set-up in the right place in race trim, after logging hundreds of laps around Bahrain in testing before the season-opening race weekend.
The team had claimed their pace deficit to Red Bull in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix was down to not perfecting how the SF-23 would work in racing conditions.
Even though Charles Leclerc was running third behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez before he retired late in the race, both Red Bull drivers held a healthy advantage over the chasing pack during the race, and hardly looked threatened for victory.
Carlos Sainz eventually took fourth place behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso at Sakhir, with Ferrari now seemingly locked in a battle with the Silverstone-based team and Mercedes to head the chasing pack behind Red Bull.
Though given the team were able to drive around the same layout for three full days in pre-season testing, before another three-day race weekend followed, former Formula 1 driver Brundle thought it was somewhat “odd” for Ferrari to have not perfected their car’s set-up for Bahrain, as per their reasoning for not being able to match Red Bull.
“It was a disappointing weekend for Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc retiring when on course for third place after an apparent issue with the electrical system in his Ferrari power unit,” Brundle wrote in his post-race column for Sky Sports F1.
Five reasons for everyone to still be excited about the F1 2023 season
Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes ‘didn’t listen’ to me on W14, ‘I know what a car needs’
Fred Vasseur ‘completely convinced’ SF-23 concept can take fight to Red Bull
“Leclerc’s failure came after Ferrari had to change the Energy Store (battery pack) in his car before the race, which was a surprise given you only have the use of two of those through the season before penalties kick in.
“As for their general lack of race pace compared to the Red Bulls, they’re saying it was down to the car set-up in race trim, but after three relentless days of testing in Bahrain and then a three-day GP weekend, it seems a bit odd that the set-up wasn’t close to optimal.
“Carlos Sainz struggled a little throughout the event and will be looking forward to putting that right next week in Saudi Arabia. Ferrari still look the closest challengers to Red Bull in this phase though.”