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Ferrari’s 2023 Season Review: A Season of Ups and Downs

Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari talk to the crowd on the fan stage prior to final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 28, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1 | Getty Images)

2023 for Ferrari was a season of ups and down as they finished third in the Constructor’s Championship with 406 points.

Even though they had a decent season, it was nowhere near their 2022 season, where they came second in the standings, fighting for the championship at the first half.

They started the season with high hopes. Perhaps those hopes were t0o high.

The Bahrain Grand Prix saw both Ferrari drivers lining up on the second row on Sunday. It was the team’s third season with the driver pairing of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Sainz was able to get a fourth place, missing out on the podium after being overtaken by his compatriot, Fernando Alonso. Leclerc, on the other side, did not get a chance to see the checkered flag, as he retired on Lap 39 after an engine issue.

The Scuderia had to wait until Austria, which was the ninth round of the season, to score their first podium of the season with Leclerc.

The team experienced huge changes as they witnessed the departure of long-standing team members, including their team principal, Mattia Binotto. He was replaced by former Sauber CEO and team principal, Frederic Vasseur.

The SF-23 had a really limited design. This resulted in it having to go through many upgrades during the season to keep up with the other top teams.

Enrico Cardile, the technical director, implemented modifications on the floor and rear suspension to enhance the downforce and minimize squat during acceleration. The car’s body and the sidepods also experienced significant changes that gave positive results as the season progressed.

The team got four wins in 2022 but they just managed to get one in 2023. Even though they did not meet the high expectations they had for the season, they still had a good year. This did not excuse them from strategy errors which is a mistake that the team definitely has to reflect on for future improvement.

Charles Leclerc (fifth in the standings, 206 points)

Finishing second in the driver’s standings on 2022, all the expectations were on the Monegasque driver. For the most part, he outperformed his teammate, 15-7. He secured five pole positions but still did not get to secure a win to his name.

2023 was a hard year for Leclerc. Most of his poles converted into Max Verstappen wins plus some reliability and technical issues like his DNS at Brazil and his disqualification at Austin. Even so, he still got moments where he showcased his amazing abilities behind the wheel and his World Champion potential. A clear example of this was his iconic last-lap overtake of Sergio Perez at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.

With five pole position and four podiums in 2023, Charles Leclerc showed he is a skilled driver who can fight for a world title. He is just waiting for a proper shot for the Championship.

Charles Leclerc grins after a sensational effort in P2 for the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix. (Photo: Scuderia Ferrari)

Carlos Sainz (seventh in the standings, 200 points)

Sainz’s 2023 campaign was a strong one for the Spaniard. It was his third year with the Italian team.

While Sainz’s 2023 efforts were not as strong as his 2022 season, where he finished fifth, he did the most he could with the 2023 chariot that was described by the Ferrari drivers themselves as “unpredictable.”

He was the only non-Red Bull driver to get a win in the 2023 season. The Singapore Grand Prix was a showcase of Sainz’s skills and coolness under pressure.

After starting from pole position, he held the first place throughout the whole race even with the pressure of Lando Norris and both Mercedes drivers behind him.

The Spaniard even used Norris to his favor, giving him DRS throughout the last laps to keep Lewis Hamilton and George Russell from overtaking the Briton and getting to him. Sainz’s strategy was successful and heavily acclaimed by the spectators after he secured his second win in F1.

Sainz’s 2023 campaign was a season full of ups and downs as he finished seventh after a close fight with Alonso, Leclerc and Norris, who passed him in the standings due to a bad strategy decision at Abu Dhabi. Even so, this was a season to remember for him with a win at Singapore, a podium at Monza, three podiums, and two pole positions.

Carlos Sainz (55) embraces McLaren's Lando Norris (4) after winning at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix for Ferrari

Carlos Sainz (55) embraces McLaren’s Lando Norris (4) after winning at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix for Ferrari (Photo: Scuderia Ferrari)

The Future

Ferrari is a historical team with high expectation always placed on them. Even though they had been struggling for more than a decade, they are never out of the equation for a place at the top.

With an amazing driver duo and a possible improved 2024 car, the Italian Scuderia is considered as a challenger for the dominant team, Red Bull Racing. Maybe…

“This year will be our year,” as the everyday Ferrari fan usually says each new year.

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