The SF-23 debuted an upgraded floor design with revised geometry in front of the rear wheels for the Miami Grand Prix, which was conceived to make the car more “benign”.
Then Leclerc crashed in Q3 before he and team-mate Sainz bemoaned “zero flexibility” in the package that meant they were unable to manage their tyres to swap strategies mid-race.
Leclerc finished where he started in seventh in Florida, while Sainz was classified fifth.
Although the duo had initially reported during Friday practice that the car was less spiky, Ferrari says making the car increasingly “predictable” remains top of the priority list.
Jock Clear – who fronted the Ferrari car technical presentation to the media last weekend – reckoned the SF-23’s temperament was a blend of set-up and aerodynamic characteristics. Clear, Leclerc’s driver coach, explained: “It’s always a combination of both.
“With a new aero package over the winter, we’ve taken a while to find the set-up.
“This floor contributes to getting the car in a better window, as the drivers were reporting earlier it is peaky.
“We need to get rid of some of that peakiness. That’s probably the main focus at the moment, to make the car a bit more benign so the drivers have a bit more confidence.”
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Ferrari will sport further updates for the Emilia Romagna and Spanish GPs. Aside from track-specific tweaks, it also debuted a reprofiled front wing endplate and floor in Saudi Arabia.
Clear outlined that in this ground-effects era of F1, revising the way the floor interacts with the rear wing and tyres was a critical area. This has only been enhanced by the mandated 15mm rise in the floor edge for 2023, a measure introduced by the FIA to limit porpoising.
He said: “The height of the floor relative to the ground is a huge influence on the whole package of downforce.
“You generate so much downforce on the floor and the rear wing, but they’re interconnected. So, that’s the area of most people’s development.
“The section just ahead of the rear wheel, where you’re controlling the flow that goes either outside the wheel or inside the wheel and therefore into the diffuser area.
“The changes are quite subtle… but actually, in aerodynamic terms, they’re quite powerful.
“It’s just a response to the feedback we’ve had from the drivers through the first four races of the year in where the…