F1: Ferrari pair brand the SF-23 “difficult” following disappointing Miami GP for Scuderia

Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have conceded that their SF-23 car needs a lot of work after another underwhelming performance at the Miami GP.

The Scuderia pair did not appear able to match the race pace of their rivals Mercedes and Aston Martin. Additionally, the Ferraris found themselves even further behind runaway leaders Red Bull. As a result, Sainz managed to finish in P5, with Charles Leclerc coming home in P7.

This is a significant drop-off compared to last year. In 2022, Ferrari pushed Red Bull for the win in Miami. By comparison, they finished 42 seconds (Sainz) and 53 seconds (Leclerc) behind race-winner Max Verstappen in 2023.

Speaking to the media after the Miami GP, Sainz opened up on the difficulties currently facing Ferrari.

“It is very tough for us, at the moment,” admitted the Spaniard, via F1. “I had an exciting first stint – battling Fernando [Alonso], thinking we could battle him and stay ahead of Mercedes. Then we went for the undercut. The first few laps killed my tyres and it was a very long stint to the end.

“We were battling inconsistencies with the wind, the car’s predictability, and the overheating of the tyre. This means we have very little flexibility to play around with other cars and strategies. And I think we paid the price of pitting those few laps early to undercut Fernando.

“We just need to find out why we are in the fight for pole on Saturdays and one second off on Sundays.”

Carlos Sainz’s weekend in Florida had gone considerably better than his teammate’s, though.

Charles Leclerc gives brutal assessment of Ferrari and his Miami GP

Leclerc had endured a tricky weekend around the Miami circuit. A crash in FP3 was an initial setback, which got worse when he repeated the incident during the last phase of qualifying.

The Monegasque star thus started from P7, although may have qualified higher had he not crashed.

In the race, Leclerc failed to make any inroads on those up ahead and eventually finished exactly where he had started. The 25-year-old then revealed that he and Sainz had experienced similar struggles during the weekend.

“We agreed that we have a car that is so incredibly difficult to be on the limit,” said Leclerc. “On my side, I don’t know what was going on at high speed, the car was moving a lot. Not from the rear, but the overall platform was touching like crazy. So, we will check the car and everything.

“But it didn’t feel great. As I was saying with Carlos, it was just a very inconsistent car today and obviously not a great race.”

While looking promising on the medium compound, the Ferrari SF-23 was not so great on the harder tyre. Once again, it appears that extracting consistent performance and limiting tyre wear is a problem for the Scuderia.

After such a disappointing Miami GP, Ferrari will expect a bounce-back performance at the next round, their home race of Imola.  

Current Formula 1 drivers’ standings after Round 5

  1. Max Verstappen – 119pts
  2. Sergio Perez – 105pts
  3. Fernando Alonso – 75pts
  4. Lewis Hamilton – 56pts
  5. Carlos Sainz – 44pts
  6. George Russell – 40pts
  7. Charles Leclerc – 34pts
  8. Lance Stroll – 27pts
  9. Lando Norris – 10pts
  10. Pierre Gasly – 8pts

Featured image credit: Getty