Jock Clear believes Singapore may prove tricky for “edgy” SF-23 F1 car

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Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari are having a very…well Ferrari kind of year. The Scuderia entered the new era of the Formula One regulations last year governing the design of the car with the fastest package on the grid before failing to capitalise on that pace and seeing any hope of securing either championship swiftly disappear into the waiting arms of Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

2023 has seen them start the season (and continue it) no better than how they ended it last year, with sort of/sometimes the second or third fastest car on the grid, rarely looking like a win on merit was on the cards and an unfortunate trait of eating through tyres much too quickly, despite some occasionally blistering qualifying pace.

With all this in mind, is there more to come in terms of aero upgrades to this year’s package from the engineers at Ferrari? Ferrari’s Performance Engineer Jock Clear gave his thoughts on the matter, which currently at least sounds like it is up in the air:

“I think there will be little bits here and there, I don’t think there’s gonna be anything big. I think we’ll have to see. That decision I don’t think is absolutely made because obviously, we’re keen to make sure that we go into next year with confidence and that always means you want to finish the year strongly. So if there’s things we think will carry over to next year and will be relevant it would be sensible to get them on the car and to get the confidence and get some track time on those pieces before February next year.”

Bumpy circuits, and ones placing a high demand on downforce are not places where the SF-23 is particularly happy. Low downforce circuits are where the team has looked strongest so far this season.

But with the demanding Marina Bay to come this weekend, Clear has been talking about what he described as the “Achilles heel” of the Scuderia’s current machine, citing Charles Leclerc’s experience at the Dutch Grand Prix as an example.

“Certainly going into Zandvoort we knew that was a circuit that wasn’t going to suit us or was gonna expose the Achilles heels in this car”.

From Clear’s assessment the SF23 in higher downforce trim seems to get more and more unpredictable and harder to tame, as he continued: “It remains a pretty quick car at most places, it just becomes more and more tricky, and you saw that with Charles putting it in the wall in qualifying. It’s a car that’s very much on the edge at circuits like that.”

Clear, a veteran of over three decades in Formula One admits that this is a clear area for Ferrari to address going forward:

“Those circuits expose nasty traits and I think Charles said it well – it’s not that the grip isn’t there, it’s just you’re not confident to use it. It’s a very edgy car when we go to those circuits and so we need to work on that.”