The Ferrari team faces a challenge as they prepare for the Singapore Grand Prix, following a disappointing showing at Zandvoort where they sacrificed the first free practice session to tackle the SF-23’s downforce issues. Frédéric Vasseur, Ferrari’s team boss, hopes Singapore will serve as a test of their understanding of these issues.
After a tough weekend in the Netherlands, where Charles Leclerc expressed his frustrations about the lack of grip and confidence in the car, Ferrari is in a hurry to learn from the sacrifice in Zandvoort. Vasseur emphasized the importance of understanding and solving the downforce problem, saying in an interview with Speedcafe: ‘Understanding it is one thing, solving it is another, but in any case we are trying to get a better understanding of the situation. ‘
To Singapore with maximum downforce
The team’s senior performance engineer, Jock Clear, confirmed that reduced downforce benefits the car’s competitiveness. This was clearly visible at the Monza circuit, where Carlos Sainz and Leclerc delivered impressive performances in qualifying and the race. However, Clear emphasized that not all circuits require the same approach. ‘We are going to Singapore with maximum downforce. It’s not like we’re just giving up on Singapore.’ He added that Zandvoort provided them with valuable insights into Singapore’s approach to cars. Although the team does not immediately expect the same performance levels as in Monza, the racing stable believes that the lessons learned in Zandvoort will help it to be better prepared.
Vasseur emphasized that the time to make improvements is limited, but that understanding the problem is a crucial first step. ‘Now the next step is to solve it. “Obviously we don’t have a lot of time on the road to take steps, but understanding what the problem is is at least a step forward,” he said. After what he deemed Ferrari’s ‘best weekend’ of the season at Monza, where it made the most of its low downforce characteristics, the team is determined to improve their performance on circuits where maximum downforce is required.