Ferrari employs clever decoy to distract Mercedes, Red Bull away from real innovations of SF23 in tactical masterclass

Formula 1 technical expert Craig Scarborough believes Ferrari could soon be in muddy waters following a closer look at the front wing used by the SF-23 at the team’s car launch last Tuesday.

However, there is a minor, yet extremely significant caveat to this story.

Scarborough believes the front wing that has been deployed by Ferrari has an eerie resemblance to the Mercedes one that was banned by FIA last season.

At the Mexican Grand Prix last year, the Silver Arrows used an upgraded front wing, which featured some fin-shaped pods.

However, the team was quickly reprimanded by the FIA for an illegal design.

The governing body of the sport promptly updated its rules which would ensure that front wings similar to the one used by Mercedes would not be allowed in the sport.

However, Ferrari seems to have disregarded this premise in the way it has designed the SF-23, and it immediately caught the attention of Scarborough.

“On the front of the car is the slot gap separators, the little supports that hold the little bits in between the front wing,” Scarborough said.

“Now they’ve copied something that Mercedes brought last year, which were these fin-shaped ones. Ferrari are done them ever-so slightly differently.”

Has Ferrari managed to trick Mercedes and Red Bull?

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Scarborough has immense experience in the sport and if he feels Ferrari has used an ‘illegal design’, he doesn’t believe the team’s intention is to actually cheat or find itself in a pickle with the FIA.

Rather, he believes it is simply a decoy being used by the Scuderia as it knows Mercedes and Red Bull would have followed its launch with great intent.

Putting something in the car that was clearly against the rules might prompt immense focus on this element from their rivals, who could end up missing out on “some other little details” that the team has brought in ahead of the 2023 season.

Scarborough is almost certain Ferrari is just playing mind games with Mercedes and Red Bull and won’t actually use the front wing as was seen at the launch when the teams line up at the season opener in Bahrain.

“To my understanding, I think these are illegal,” Scarborough said.

“I think this is a bit of subterfuge, just something to catch people’s eyes and maybe not look at some other little details on the car.

“That’s quite interesting. Personally, I don’t expect to see those vanes on the car when we get to the first race.”

Has Ferrari managed to distract rivals through decoy?

Ferrari F1 2023. Credit:
Ferrari F1 2023. Credit:

If Ferrari has indeed laid out such a clever plan to distract its opponents, fans should be very excited about the package the Maranello-based outfit has produced.

The team is reportedly “very optimistic” about its challenger in 2023, with team principal speaking about the positive atmosphere at the team.

“If you don’t have the reliability, then you are not able to do these three days and then you start on the wrong foot,” Vasseur said at the launch.

“We have done the mileage we needed to do on the dyno and we are all optimistic, but only Bahrain will tell is where we are in terms of engine performance. So far it is ok.”

Read more: Lando Norris told to ditch McLaren and sign impending Red Bull deal to avoid replicating Fernando Alonso fate

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