Ferrari often performed well during qualifying in the 2023 season but struggled to maintain tyre viability as long as Red Bull Racing, leading to a shorter performance window and more apparent weaknesses when driving in changing conditions or with aged tyres, according to Charles Leclerc.
‣ Ferrari struggled to maintain tyre viability for as long as Red Bull Racing during the 2023 Grand Prix season, resulting in a shorter performance window.
‣ Despite this, Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc managed to pole a total of seven times, largely due to the extra grip provided by new tyres in qualifying.
‣ Ferrari’s weaknesses became more apparent when the tyres aged and lost grip, especially in challenging conditions such as traffic, wind, or temperature changes.
‣ While new tyres benefited all drivers, Ferrari benefited more as new tyres compensated for the car’s weaknesses. However, the car’s performance varied greatly depending on the type of tyre used.
Ferrari’s speed during the 2023 season’s qualifying rounds was often impressive. However, they consistently fell short against Max Verstappen‘s Red Bull Racing in the Grand Prix. The crux of the matter? Tyre viability.
The Italians just couldn’t keep their tyres going as long as the Austrian team. This meant Ferrari had a shorter window to perform at their peak.
Within this brief window, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc did manage to snag pole position seven times. Leclerc reflected on this in a chat with Auto, Motor und Sport. He noted, “If we have new tyres in qualifying, the extra grip compensates for the car’s weaknesses. Then we can compete.”
But, there’s a catch. As Leclerc puts it, “Weaknesses Ferrari come to light.” The moment the tyres start to age and lose grip, problems crop up. Add a full fuel tank, traffic, wind, or temperature changes, and the car’s weaknesses become glaringly obvious. Driving becomes a real challenge.
Every driver, including those at Red Bull Racing, benefits from a new tyre set. But Leclerc points out, “Yes, but they don’t benefit as much. For us, the new tyre removes the weaknesses that would otherwise slow us down. As I said, there is a very small margin on which the car works.”
He cites the Mexican GP as an example. “We were very fast on medium tyres. As soon as we ran on hard tyres, nothing worked.” It’s clear that tyre management was a significant factor in Ferrari’s performance during the 2023 season.