Ferrari: "Tough" sidepod switch about long-term F1 development opportunities

Ferrari says the "tough" call to change the sidepod concept on its Formula 1 car was triggered by the need to open up a better development path for the future.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

The Maranello-based team has moved away from the bathtub in-wash sidepod concept it has used since the start of 2022 to a more Red Bull-style downwash solution for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

While the team was long convinced that its original sidepod design was competitive, analysis of its current situation in F1 has highlighted that changing approach has more potential to deliver gains over the long term.

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur explained that it had not been an easy call for the team to make, but it was a necessary one if the squad was to get back to the front of F1.

"It's, for us, the opportunity to open a new door for the development for the future, and it is quite promising," he explained.

"It means that we have committed this way, and let's see what the next weeks will bring to us. I think it was a tough decision, but it was a decision."

Carlos Sainz tried the new sidepods in opening free practice in Spain on Friday, with Charles Leclerc switching across from the old versions in FP2 as he conducted a proper back-to-back.

While it is still early to judge the short-term gains from the new parts, Leclerc was positive about his first impressions.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"The feeling is quite okay," said the Monegasque. "I mean, we still have a lot of work to do in order to optimise that new package, but it felt pretty good.

"I think step-by-step we are trying to push more and more the car and to go in places that we haven't yet because we didn't have the time."

While the sidepod shift is more about Ferrari finding longer-term performance gains to improve its car, especially when it comes to race pace, Vasseur said he was optimistic about them delivering an immediate lap time benefit.

"From this upgrade, we're expecting a step forward, not a huge one, but a step forward," he said. "And also to open some doors for the future in terms of development.

"We will have other upgrades coming in the next couple of races and it's an opportunity also to take another direction. But even with this one, we are expecting to do a step forward."

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