Vasseur: Miami GP to kick off Ferrari SF-23 upgrade effort

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Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur says the Italian outfit will kick off in earnest in Miami this week its 2023 development programme for its SF-23.

The Scuderia's low-key start to its campaign, during which it scored just 26 points in the first three races of the season, was somewhat mitigated by a strong weekend for Charles Leclerc in Azerbaijan.

The Monegasque took pole position for both the Sprint event and for Sunday's Grand Prix, but was helpless in his attempts to fend off his mighty Red Bull rivals in either race.

Leclerc's podium finish on Sunday was a welcome achievement for both team and driver, but the 21-second deficit to the bulls at the checkered flag reminded Ferrari of the significant gap it needs to bridge to take the fight to Red Bull.

However, Miami could see the Scuderia begin to chip away at Red Bull's advantage.

"We will start to bring updates on the car from Miami and for the next couple of events and we will see how the car will react to the updates," said Vasseur in Baku.

"The update is one thing but the fact that you are able to extract all of the potential out of the update is another one."

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While Vasseur welcomed last weekend's solid performance, he insists Ferrari is taking a pragmatic and realist view of its situation relative to its rival Red Bull.

"Overall, they were faster than us and we don't have to bullshit ourselves," he said. "Then to understand if it is coming from aero or mechanical is another story.

"I think so far what is obvious is that we are struggling with consistency. It's true this weekend, all over the lap, all over the corners and all over the race.

"[But] I think the car was much more consistent this weekend and we are going in the right direction."

Vasseur says Ferrari is still in the process of trying to understand how Red Bull's DRS has become so powerful, enabling Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen to so easily breeze past their rivals on Baku's main straight, despite a shortened DRS zone.

"Clearly, one of the strengths of the Red Bull today is the DRS effect," explained Vasseur. "We need to understand what they're doing and I think we're on it.

"We compensated part of the gap compared to last year, because it was already the case last year, but we still have mega room for improvement."

Almost all teams implemented updates in Baku. But Ferrari, save for a track specific lower drag rear wing design, held back on introducing new parts as it did not feel that F1's revised Sprint format provided the proper environment to trial and gauge new parts.

Third placed Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari in parc ferme. 30.04.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit, Azerbaijan, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"The format of the weekend means it is difficult to get the potential that I think is there," he considered.

"It is difficult with this format to introduce an update on the car, but it is the same for everybody and it is part of the game.

"It is true we will have to consider this in the approach for the next couple of events. Monaco is not the best place to develop the car, so we will bring small updates.

"This format pushes the teams to bring small updates and not to bring a big package."

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