Ferrari is confident regarding its prospects of a competitive showing in Formula 1’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix this coming weekend.

The Italian marque has endured an inconsistent season stymied by a capricious SF-23 car, leaving it third in the Constructors’ standings, 420 points adrift of Red Bull.

However, Ferrari’s winter choice to trade cornering performance for top-end grunt could see it become a credible contender on F1’s maiden visit to the 6.2km Las Vegas Strip Circuit. The street venue, which runs along the iconic drag strip, features a 1.900km straight with speeds that could rival Monza, where Ferrari achieved a podium.

Furthermore, Ferrari has typically performed well at street circuits this year, with Charles Leclerc bagging pole position in Baku and Carlos Sainz taking victory in Singapore.

Amid expectations that teams will need to utilise their low-downforce packages in Las Vegas, Ferrari Senior Performance Engineer Jock Clear relayed the side’s optimism.

“Las Vegas is going to be a good one,” Clear said. All our indications are that it is going to be a low downforce circuit, and as such, we are confident that we can be competitive there, but [we still have] a tricky car.

“Let’s not beat around the bush, it comes in and out of the window quite quickly, and the struggle for us has been to understand why that is.”

Clear outlines that Ferrari has largely understood the inherent issues with its current car, providing hope it will assemble a more predictable car for next season.

He added: “I think we understand that most of it might be in the DNA of the car, so for next year, we are focusing on making it a much more benign car, one that doesn’t have such a narrow operating window.”

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23 and Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23 in the pits. 04.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sprint Day.

The Briton details that Ferrari’s struggles with getting its 2023 car into an optimal operating range more regularly is an aspect it needs to rectify to challenge Red Bull.

“In a race, you can’t operate in a narrow window because the race is long, temperatures change, the tyres, and you need a bit of a broader operating window to have a really good race,” he explained. “That is where Red Bull’s strength is – their operating window is very wide.”

Ferrari squandered an opportunity to substantially reduce the deficit to Mercedes last time out in Brazil when a technical issue prevented Leclerc from taking the start.

Despite the Maranello camp being bullish over its chances, Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur is wary of the test posed by a unique track configuration and potentially the coldest temperatures of the entire season.

“Vegas will be difficult but I think everybody is anticipating that it will be difficult,” Vasseur said. “It will be more than a night race. It could be… I don’t know what… Conditions will be very, very cold but it’s a new track with a kind of special layout.

“We have to take it as an opportunity to come back at Mercedes [in the Constructors’ Championship].”

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