In its role as the reference team in the history of Formula 1, Ferrari also has the task of ending the winning streaks. It happened in 1988 in Monza, when Gerhard Berger won, breaking McLaren’s run, and it happened last Sunday in Singapore, putting an end to Red Bull’s streak of fourteen consecutive victories. The victory in the Singapore Grand Prix brought Ferrari back to victory after a drought that lasted 26 Grands Prix, but Formula 1 travels fast. In the Marina Bay paddock there is no longer a single bolt from the teams that raced yesterday evening, the technical material has already arrived on Japanese soil, and the minds of engineers and drivers are on the challenges that the Suzuka circuit will entail.
The celebrations in Singapore will fuel considerable expectations in view of the Grand Prix scheduled for next weekend, but in cold blood the answer to the question “What can Ferrari aim for?” it is neither simple nor obvious. Sainz himself, always very realistic, analyzed what he played in favor of the Scuderia in Singapore. “We adapted well to the high-load configuration – he explained – the ninety-degree bends, the rapid changes of direction and the straights are exactly what our single-seater likes. But there will be other tracks on which we will only fight for fifth and sixth place.”
At Marina Bay there are no fast corners, you are not bothered by the wind (a critical element for the SF-23) and above all being in first position guarantees that you have the race under control. Sainz also took the lead in Monza, but the track configuration did not allow Carlos to impose his pace like in Marina Bay, and the need to push led to the tires overheating and surrendering against the Red Bulls. In Suzuka we will return to a circuit where starting position is a bonus but certainly not capable of guaranteeing a victory, and Vasseur has kept a low profile ahead of the Japanese weekend.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Frederic Vasseur, Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal and General Manager
Photo by: Ferrari
“We won’t change our approach after Monza and Singapore – underlined the Scuderia team principal – I don’t know what happened to Red Bull last weekend, and if we look at the teams we fought against, namely Mercedes and McLaren, it’s not as if changed a lot compared to other previous races, we are still talking about margins in the order of half a tenth in qualifying. Next weekend we will have to start from scratch like we did in the other weekends, having had a good weekend certainly won’t make us feel like champions.”
However, there is the feeling that something has changed at Ferrari after the summer break. The controversial weekend in Zandvoort, in which despite the results on the track the Scuderia drivers confirmed that they were happy with the work done, was probably an important step in the growth process. “There is nothing magical in this sport – added Vasseur – you don’t suddenly find half a second, but you make many small steps forward, the team reacted very well after difficult weekends, and it’s something that I appreciated and appreciate Very. Yes, in Zandvoort we probably unlocked something about understanding the set-up, a step that allowed us to reach the performance seen in Monza and Singapore”.
The objectives that Ferrari can aim for (along with Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin) will also be conditioned by the form of Red Bull. On this front the paddock’s verdict is practically unanimous, everyone with microphones turned on is convinced that the usual Red Bull of 2023 will be seen again in Suzuka, capable of playing a sport apart. But ‘off record’ there are those who have some doubts about him, concluding with a “let’s see” to which only the track will be able to respond starting from Friday.
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