Complaints against Charles Leclerc’s new car begin after the low power presented in the last F1 race
Scuderia Ferrari experienced a difficult weekend in the American Grand Prix with the SF23, which brought difficulties both in the qualifying session and in the race rhythm, especially on the straights. During Sunday’s race, the Maranello car showed new limitations, featuring significantly lower top speeds than other competitors.
After the premiere of the new floor and the updated diffuser, the results did not reflect the expectations of the technicians and pilots. Let’s try to discover the possible causes behind the poor speed of the Ferrari SF-23 on the straights at the Grand Prix of Miami. The behavior of the Ferrari during the American weekend was unpredictable. Even the pilots confirmed the difficulty of driving the Prancing Horse car.
A very narrow speed delta
The updates did not bring the expected improvements and they raise many questions about the real quality of this project. What impressed negatively, however, were the top speeds developed by the SF-23 single-seater. The episode we are referring to is the battle with Kevin Magnussen aboard the Haas VF-23, also powered by Ferrari.
On lap 3, Kevin Magnussen was ahead of Charles Leclerc, with the latter in the DRS zone approaching the straight between turns 16 and 17. When DRS was activated, the difference between the VF-23 and the SF-23 It was only 6 km/h. Once Charles Leclerc’s DRS opened, his km/h increased but stalled at 330 km/h just outside the slipstream. This value would not be bad, but Kevin Magnussen’s top speed is 325 km/h.
The Ferrari SF-23 Superfast is not that fast
This small delta did not allow the Monegasque driver to easily close the gap, so much so that on the main straight, Kevin Magnussen was able to overtake him after being passed. Here the VF-23 was able to reach 300 km/h, unlike the SF-23 which stalled on its own at 282 km/h, creating a delta of 18 km/h. What makes the speed gap even bigger is the top speed of Max Verstappen, who was trailing both of them. In fact, the Dutchman’s RB19 reached 314 km/h, 32 km/h faster than Charles Leclerc.
So what could be the reasons behind such a large speed delta between the SF-23, VF-23 and RB19? The first can be attributed to the choices made regarding the aerodynamic configuration, while the second is related to the mapping of the power unit. Thus, when analyzing the first aspect, the decisions of the technicians led to the use of a single-pillar wing at the rear in order to have a good balance between downforce and drag, without penalizing.