Ferrari and McLaren endure disastrous Miami GP


Ferrari and McLaren are still in shock following their poor performances in the Miami Grand Prix.

While Carlos Sainz was able to claim fifth for the Maranello outfit it was essentially damage limitation on a day the team is still struggling to understand what went wrong.

Teammate Charles Leclerc had a particularly awful weekend, crashing twice and finishing the race almost a minute down on the winner, having been left for dead by Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes along the way.

"It's a very similar picture to the beginning of the year," said Leclerc, "we are competitive in qualifying but once we come to race day we are struggling like crazy.

Just a week earlier the Monegasque had proved the point by claiming pole position for both the Sprint and Grand Prix, but managing to finish on the podium in both events. In Miami the red cars weren't even close.

"The window of our car is so narrow," he said of the SF-23's performance, "and whenever you get a little bit out of it, it has huge consequences on the balance.

"It's from one corner to the other and even in one corner, sometimes you can have huge understeer, which goes to huge oversteer, and this is obviously not ideal to have confidence in the car."

"It's a very inconsistent car, it's very peaky," agreed teammate Carlos Sainz. "You're driving properly on the limit or on a knife edge and this means that in the race we're paying the price."

"Finding some consistency in the car's performance has to be our number one priority," admitted team boss, Frederic Vasseur, "especially in terms of tyre management, so that the confidence the drivers have in qualifying can be replicated in the race."

If Ferrari are licking their wounds, spare a thought for McLaren.

On Thursday, Lando Norris insisted that the season hasn't been as bad as it looks, claiming that the team had just been unlucky.

Well Lady Luck was clearly looking the other way on Sunday, when the Briton was hit at the first corner by an overenthusiastic Nyck de Vries, dropping him to the back of the field.

Meanwhile, just a few laps into the race, teammate Oscar Piastri suffered a brake-by-wire failure, the first of several issues to affect the Australian over the course of the race.

"The track doesn't suit us," said Norris, "longer corners don't suit us, the temperature doesn't suit us, track surface doesn't suit us... there are many different aspects of it all.

"No one was slow either this weekend," he continued, only further muddying the waters. "Maybe the AlphaTauris were the only other slow car. Everyone else was pretty quick. The Alfa Romeos were mega fast, Haas were mega fast. The Alpines were way quicker.

"I wouldn't say we were that much different to where we have been, it's just everything else was a big step forward and a lot of this is just down to car characteristic, in my opinion."

"It was a calculated risk on the strategy," said teammate Piastri, of the team's decision to start both drivers on softs, the only ones to do so. "We went into the race with two sets of hard tyres. Try something a bit different because, to be honest, we weren't going to get to the points on pace.

"So we tried something different and it didn't really work. It worked on the first lap, got a lot of positions off the start, and then about three or four laps after the pitstop I had a BBW failure, with some other failures as well.

"That was why the pace was so terrible. After that, I had a brake pedal that was about two metres long, it felt like, amongst other things."

"The main takeaway is that after a decent weekend in Baku from a performance point of view, we had a reality check," admitted team boss, Andrea Stella. "The information we gained here helps us understand that some development directions still need to be pursued, like improving the car in off-brakes, off-throttle.

"At the moment, the car just doesn't work in this condition. At tracks like this, this becomes too much of a limitation."

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 09/05/2023
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.