Formula 1: Another team emerging in the fight for 2nd?

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images) /

After a rough start to the 2023 Formula 1 season for Ferrari, their impressive showing in Baku could be a sign of what is to come.

Ferrari had their best showing of the 2023 Formula 1 season in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Pace was ever so present in the SF-23 from the first practice session on Friday all the way to the race on Sunday. This is the type of performance fans were looking forward to seeing from Ferrari this year.

Additionally, the weekend marked a fantastic rebound from Charles Leclerc, who had been behind teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. after the first three races of the season. The 25-year-old took the pole position for both the sprint and the Grand Prix and collected 22 points throughout the weekend, more than quadrupling his total for the entire season.

Leclerc and Sainz are now getting good output from the car, which is a great sign for Ferrari’s outlook going forward. Not only is the Maranello-based team silencing their critics, but they are also sending a message reminding people that they can still be a factor.

Ferrari sit only 14 points behind Mercedes and 25 points behind Aston Martin in the constructor standings. In the world of Formula 1, those are deficits that can easily be turned around in the span of a few races.

Expect things to only get better for Ferrari as they gradually implement a slew of upgrades to the SF-23, race by race. Team principal Fred Vasseur has belief in the concept of the car and rejected the idea of a B-spec initiative for the SF-23.

What does this mean for Ferrari throughout the rest of the 2023 Formula 1 season?

The substantial upgrades could likely make Ferrari more competitive with Red Bull and put them in a position to win a race or two. With the pace being present in Baku without their upgrade package, the prospects are fairly high, at least based on Vasseur’s proposed plan for upgrade implementation.

Ferrari found themselves well ahead of Mercedes and in a battle with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in Azerbaijan. Even if they do not catch Red Bull this season, they are fully capable of competing with Aston Martin and Mercedes. Finishing in second place in the standings for the second straight year is definitely a possibility.

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A three-team battle for one spot with plenty of races to go should keep things interesting. For the rest of the season, we could very well see a battle for positions three through eight in the driver standings, and this battle will definitely be fierce. Every point will count in the long run.