The sixteenth round of the 2023 season in Suzuka will be a great test for the F1 field, as teams bring upgrades to the Japanese GP.
A dramatic weekend in Singapore saw the established order disrupted, with Carlos Sainz securing victory and ending Red Bull’s streak. However, there were several teams – including Ferrari and McLaren – who were faster than the reigning Champions in Marina Bay.
As ever in Formula 1, upgrades will be introduced this weekend at the 2023 Japanese GP as teams work to gain an advantage. At this stage of the year, most updates introduced are done to help facilitate winter development ahead of 2024. Focusing on this weekend specifically, multiple teams have new parts – although some will be using older configurations in Suzuka.
Red Bull introduces no new parts to Japan, but they will be eager to return to winning ways all the same. A new floor specification was brought last weekend in Singapore – but was taken off as the team struggled with set-up. Expect Adrian Newey’s technical team to use this weekend as a chance to re-evaluate the effectiveness of this new spec.
The Silver Arrows introduce just one change this weekend, via a performance update to the W14’s rear wing. Having shown potentially race-winning pace in Singapore, Mercedes should perform well at the medium/high-speed corners of Japan.
Ferrari arrives in Japan with one upgrade, but it is a significant one. The Maranello outfit brings a new floor, which will be its final major update of 2023. Since the summer break, the team seems to have a better understanding of the SF-23. Although understeer is a side effect of keeping the Ferrari in its operating window, the Italian squad has reasons to be optimistic this weekend. Suzuka will be the perfect circuit to test its new floor.
The Silverstone-based outfit brings a single “circuit-specific” upgrade to Japan. After a disappointing weekend in Singapore, they will be eager to prove that the damage sustained to Alonso’s AMR23 was responsible for their poor performance. Moreover, Dan Fallows and the other personnel at Aston Martin must demonstrate they have recovered some of the speed lost post-Canada.
Andrea Stella’s team introduces an upgraded beam wing and side pod inlet to the MCL60. Oscar Piastri will also receive the large update package fitted to Lando Norris’ car in Singapore. Hopefully, giving him an opportunity to fight closer to the front.
Williams has a new floor fence for the FW45. The car showed reasonable pace last weekend at a track that certainly wasn’t well suited to their car. The British team should be more competitive this weekend, where they can capitalise on their efficiency and top speed. After missing out on points after a late incident with Perez in Marina Bay, this week’s aim will be a return to the top 10.