If you have watched the first three races of the 2023 Formula 1 season, you will have noticed an absence of red on the podium. While Aston Martin capitalised on their turnaround in fortunes, Red Bull continued their dominance from 2022, and even Mercedes achieved top three results in their troubled W14, Ferrari has lacked the reliability and consistency to take home any silverware. Charles Leclerc’s retirement after three corners of the Melbourne circuit means he now only has six points on the board, which is a far cry from where he was leading the championship at the same stage 12 months ago. Teammate Carlos Sainz has faired slightly better after finishing fourth in Bahrain and sixth in Saudi Arabia. But a time penalty for a clumsy move on Fernando Alonso at the end of the Australian Grand Prix, put to an end any chances of him salvaging a tough weekend for the team. The combined total is just 26 points for Ferrari, marking it the worst start to a season since 2009 when they scored zero points. This was the start of a major regulation change that year which caught Ferrari out, after they spent most of their resources developing their car in 2008 in the title race with Lewis Hamilton and McLaren. Similarities to 2020 Over the same period the team scored 27 points in 2020, which similarly featured two retirements when both Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc retired at the Styrian Grand Prix. The main difference is Leclerc stood on the podium at the opening round after finishing second, therefore lending some credibility to their form. They went on to finish sixth in the championship in 2020, only achieving two other podiums at the British and Turkish Grands Prix. With the SF-23 seemingly suffering from worse reliability than the F1-75, the first three races of 2023 will be an important learning curve for the team in its new era with Team Principal Frederic Vasseur.
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