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Horner and Vasseur

Vasseur demands changes at Ferrari

The Italian team is not where it would like to be

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Fred Vasseur and Ferrari hoped for much more from the Jeddah track layout than the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix ultimately delivered for the team. Vasseur says the team must not “bullshit itself” for the results.

Leclerc and Sainz
Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc (L) draws a picture of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 16, 2023, ahead of the 2023 Saudi Arabia Formula One Grand Prix. (Image Credit: Ben Stansall / AFP via Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc qualified in second place but had to start from 12th due to an engine penalty. From there, he fought his way up to seventh. But his teammate Carlos Sainz, who finished P6, also lacked the race pace to get close to the Mercedes or even Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

It seems that the SF-23 is not as strong as its predecessor.

Vasseur wants no pretenses

Ferrari’s new team boss Fred Vasseur wants to avoid pretending or making the situation look better. According to motorsport.com, the first thing he will ask of the engineers is:

“To not bullshit ourselves.

“The most important thing in this kind of situation is to know where we are going well and what we are doing wrong. But we cannot bullshit ourselves.

“We have to change. We have to understand where we are wrong, and we have to push. It’s not [good enough] to speak, we will not be faster like this.

“For me the picture is quite clear. The potential of the car is good, but it’s not enough compared to Red Bull, because we are not able to extract the maximum from the car every time.”

According to Vasseur, the problems in Saudi Arabia were due to tyre management, as the hard tyre compound, in particular, did not work for Ferrari.

“The first stint went pretty well and Charles had a good comeback, but he was with the soft [tyre] and nobody knows about the different compound,” he said.

“Carlos was in a decent pace on the first stint with the medium, compared to the others, but we lost completely the ground with the hard [tyre].

“It’s where we have to understand that the main issue is. If we have some improvement to do, it’s clearly on the management of the different compounds.”

The potential is there

Vasseur still sees that the SF-23 has the potential to drive at the front. The qualifying pace was close to the Red Bull, but the race pace was missing.

“I don’t want to push on the positive side, because the outcome of the weekend is not good and we have to be focused on what is going wrong, not on the positives,” Vasseur explained.

“But I have to keep in mind, to do a proper analysis, of what is going well and I think that qualifying went pretty well.

“For sure we always want to do a better job, and it was difficult to know exactly what was the potential of the Red Bull because Max [Verstappen] didn’t do the Q3. But at least I had the feeling that compared to Mercedes and Aston Martin we did a step forward.

“We were one-tenth off, [in qualifying] they were three and four [tenths] I think, and I think we are on the right way in terms of development.

“But potential is one thing, and I think on the potential side we did a decent step. The issue is we have to stay at this maximum potential all over the weekend, and it’s not what we are doing today [Sunday].

“I think on some occasions we are there. But on some occasions, or some stints of the weekend, we are not able to be at the maximum of our possibility.”

We are curious to see whether Ferrari can already make a step forward in Melbourne.

Image Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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