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END OF YEAR REPORT: Another year goes by without a championship for Ferrari but are things looking up?

Junior Staff Writer

Nadim Bart-Williams
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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 23: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Carlos

Expectations were high at Ferrari coming into the season, with the target of winning both championships the stated aim. However, those hopes ended quickly as, for the first half of the year they struggled to even get on the podium. But the second portion of the season proved to be more fruitful, with that famous night in Singapore one that will live long in the memory. Here’s their end of year report...

Best finish

Carlos Sainz – 1st place in Singapore

Carlos Sainz will be remembered for being the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race in 2023, as he put in a performance to remember to take a second career victory at the Marina Bay Circuit.

READ MORE: Our writers pick their best drivers and favourite stories from 2023 – as well as who needs to up their game in 2024

It was an outstanding weekend from the Spaniard who was on the pace from the very start of the weekend, before beating his team mate Charles Leclerc to pole by the smallest of margins.

He continued to show that form throughout the race but needed his outstanding racing brain to take the win. With the faster Mercedes drivers charging towards him in the closing stages, Sainz kept Lando Norris within DRS range, helping him hold up both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, while allowing him to take the win.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Carlos Sainz Jr of Spain and Scuderia Ferrari celebrates his

Sainz's victory in Singapore was the only non-Red Bull win in 2023

Qualifying head-to-head

Charles Leclerc 15-7 Carlos Sainz

On some weekends Ferrari proved to be the ones to beat in qualifying, such was the pace of the SF-23 over one lap. And in Charles Leclerc they have someone many regard as the best qualifier on the grid, while Sainz has shown that he is no slouch either.

Statistically, Leclerc was the second fastest qualifier in 2023 and more often than not was the faster Ferrari on Saturday. He achieved four pole positions, including three in the final five races, although he could not convert any into wins.

READ MORE: Vasseur admits level of expectation ‘too high at the beginning’ as he sums up first Ferrari season

Despite the scoreline, Sainz was slightly more consistent, especially in the first part of the season, qualifying in the top five in 10 of the first 12 races. That form continued following the summer break when he scored back-to-back pole positions in Italy and Singapore.

Race head-to-head

Charles Leclerc 11-9 Carlos Sainz

Ferrari’s one lap pace did not always translate to race trim with both drivers often facing an uphill task in their quest to score podiums. Things were much closer between the drivers, with Leclerc again holding the slight edge over the Sainz.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari

Leclerc lead Sainz in the intra-team battle in qualifying and in the race

Leclerc scored just three podiums and only finished in the top five four times before the summer break. However, his form post the hiatus was much better as the only races where he did not finish in the top five were in Zandvoort (where he retired) Austin (where he crossed the line sixth but was disqualified), and Sao Paulo (where he was hit with a hydraulic failure on the formation lap). He ended on a high too, scoring three podiums in the final four races.

Sainz, on the other hand, was again more consistent in the first half of the year, scoring points at each event bar Australia and Belgium – where he did not finish. He then added three podiums in the second half of the year – including that victory in Singapore.

READ MORE: Leclerc labels Ferrari's season ‘disappointing’ as he discusses their chances of catching Red Bull over the winter

Best Moment

There is only one highlight from this year, and it is Sainz’s victory in Singapore. They had not won a race in over a year, having made a brilliant start under the new technical regulations in 2022.

But on a weekend where Red Bull were not at their best, the Spaniard’s amazing pace and race-craft earned them a treasured victory.

Worst Moment

It was not the easiest season for Ferrari with both drivers having their own fair share of bad luck. But the Australian GP weekend was by far the worst of weekends, with Leclerc crashing out on the opening lap.

Sainz, on the other hand, looked to be on course for a good haul of points, but was later given a five-second penalty that knocked him down to 12th, after he collided with compatriot Fernando Alonso at the restart.

16 Charles Leclerc of Monaco, Scuderia Ferrari, SF-23 - Ferrari, action 55 Carlos Sainz of Spain,

Ferrari will be hoping to give Leclerc and Sainz a more consistent car in 2024

Going forward

Ferrari’s goal each season is to try and win the championship, but they were incredibly far off Red Bull to start the year and, on some weekends, they did not even have the second, nor the third fastest car on the grid.

READ MORE: Oliver Bearman on a whirlwind 2023 and his glimpse into F1 life with Ferrari and Haas

But to their credit, their pace improved towards the back end of the year, although that mainly seemed to be over one lap. So, the goal at Ferrari will be to add some more performance while also making their car more consistent across a weekend, meaning that they can translate their one lap pace over a racing distance.

They will also hope to give their drivers a steadier platform from which to drive as both Sainz and Leclerc were often left questioning how "peaky" their car was this year. If they do this, they have a line-up that has shown they can compete for top honours.

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