Former Williams driver Ralf Schumacher called Ferrari "the biggest problem child" in F1 after their inconsistent start to the 2023 season. Schumacher stated that the team doesn't even know what is the problem with their 2023 challenger, the SF-23.
During the Spanish Grand Prix, where the team brought multiple upgrades for the car, Charles Leclerc's weekend was spoiled by a mysterious issue that Ferrari couldn't figure out.
Carlos Sainz, who did not face any such issue, had a disappointing outing as well. The Spaniard qualified on the front row but it became clear during the early stages of the race that a podium finish would be difficult.
As the race unraveled, the Spaniard struggled for pace to keep up with Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Even Sergio Perez made short work of him and made his way past, and Sainz had to settle for a P5 finish.
Criticizing the Italian team in his post-race column for Sky Germany, Ralf Schumacher said:
“The biggest problem child is Ferrari. Team boss Fred Vasseur seemed at a loss. When I asked him how long it would take Ferrari to catch up with the leaders, his answer was: ‘First we have to identify the problem, then we can say how long it will take’. They don’t really know what the problem is, they’ve had the problem of the tyre degrading too quickly for a year and in Barcelona, apart from qualifying, they were simply too slow.”
Ferrari still have a rocky road ahead of them
Ralf Schumacher further doubled down and said that the team was in dire straights as they did not even know what was wrong with the car. Fred Vasseur will take some time to get the team up and running and until then it's hard to see things changing. He wrote:
“Ferrari still have a rocky road ahead of them. Vasseur has only been in charge for a few months, it just takes time and you have to give him that. He is in the process of bringing some new people into the team. It may take some time before they all start working and this work bears fruit. So it’s quite possible that Ferrari can forget about this season and the beginning of next year.”
Ferrari were hoping to build on a promising 2022 season this year, but have struggled with a lack of consistency yet again. It will be interesting to see if their fortunes can improve in the coming races.