F1 pundit explains what led to Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz's struggles at the 2023 F1 Spanish GP
Ferrari had another dismal weekend in Spain, with both drivers failing to impress despite significant upgrades made to the SF-23. Carlos Sainz was unable to hold onto his P2 start, finishing fifth while his teammate Charles Leclerc failed to score points in P11.
The Scuderia team unveiled a new sidepod layout along with a new floor and was expected to chew into its current gap to Red Bull. However, the circuit in Barcelona was perhaps the wrong track for the Italian team to debut its upgrades.
F1 pundit Mark Hughes noted that Ferrari suffered from its usual problem - tire degradation. He looked at Carlos Sainz's tire degradation, which was so high that his pace on new medium tires was as good as Lewis Hamilton's times on old soft tires.
The Italian team also ran significantly lower wing levels compared to both Red Bull and Mercedes, giving them an edge in qualifying, but being subject to even more tire degradation during the race. Mark Hughes wrote for Formula1.com:
"Knowing how demanding the track is of the tyres, why Ferrari chose this level of wing is the interesting point. Its ride quality over the kerbs was poor, just as it had been in Monaco last week, and around Barcelona that was inducing bouncing in the car in qualifying. Running more downforce may only have worsened that."
Ferrari still clueless about the issues that plague their challenger
According to Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur, if the team had identified the problem afflicting the SF-23 this season, they would have been able to resolve it by now. The Scuderia had a dismal outing in Spain, finishing P5 and P11.
Despite showing promise during pre-season testing, the Italian powerhouse has encountered difficulties, falling significantly behind competitors such as Mercedes and Aston Martin in the battle for second place in the championship.
Even with the introduction of upgrades to Carlos Sainz's car, the Prancing Horses have struggled to maintain race pace.
To make matters worse for the Maranello-based team, their rivals Mercedes have introduced upgrades that have put them ahead of the Italian in terms of race pace. As per Formu1a.uno, the Ferrari team boss said:
"If we knew, we would have already solved it. There are so many people working there but it's not easy because it's not even the same problem. In qualifying, you are also in the open air, not in the race, which is why Charles also had more problems being in traffic."
It will be interesting to see how the historic team fares on the streets of Montreal in two weeks' time.