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F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023 Frederic Vasseur ahead of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on November 26, 2023.

Vasseur: Ferrari must be more realistic for 2024

The Scuderia had a more difficult season than 2022, finishing third in the constructors' championship and achieving one race victory

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Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur believes his team must stay level-headed for 2024 – not setting expectations “too high”.

F1 Grand Prix of United StatesAUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-23 leads Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-23 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 22, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
Ferrari were not able to challenge Red Bull like in the early part of 2022 (Image Credit: Jared C. Tilton – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

The Maranello team nailed the new regulations at the start of 2022. They were the only team to put Red Bull under pressure since the new ground-effect era.

The start of 2022 gave the Scuderia optimism of a potential first world constructors’ world championship since 2007. However, the Austrian team would out-develop the Italian team, resulting in Red Bull and Max Verstappen cruising away to both titles.

2023 would only get worse for Ferrari. The Scuderia turned up with a car in Bahrain testing that did not live up to the team’s hopes. The SF-23 struggled throughout the season, especially with race pace.

However, the Maranello team were able to upgrade their car efficiently. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were able to secure multiple pole positions, showing that the one-lap pace was really strong.

Ferrari would win one race in 2023 through Sainz in Singapore – the only non-Red Bull victory in 2023. However, the race pace still lacked significantly compared to the qualifying pace.

Managing expectations is essential

It was no secret how much it hurt the team with the SF-23, having high expectations after their 2022 season. Vasseur believes that the team can take courage from the improvements throughout the season. However the Frenchman has stressed not to set too high expectations after what happened this season:

“For sure, I think the level of expectation was a bit too high at the beginning of the season. We understood quickly the situation after a couple of laps in Bahrain and even a couple of laps into the simulator before Bahrain.”

However, Vasseur praised the reaction of his team after such a poor start, regarding the development of the car.

“But what I would keep in mind this season is the reaction of the team. We had a tough moment but remember after Jeddah, Miami, Spain or Zandvoort, Zandvoort is not so far away and we were almost lapped.

“I think that we, compared to Zandvoort, collectively made a huge step forward and this is good for the future. It’s on this progression that we can build for next year.”

F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas - RaceLAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 18: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing leads Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-23 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Strip Circuit on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Leclerc came close to a race win in Las Vegas (Image Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Big changes for next year to try and catch Red Bull

Ferrari has already decided that a new car design is required to make progress in 2024. The new design will address several weaknesses all around the car.

Drivers Leclerc and Sainz are optimistic of giving Red Bull more of a fight in 2024. However, the Austrian team had turned their attention to 2024 a lot earlier than other teams, giving them a potential advantage.

“I don’t know if it will be better next year, nobody knows,” Vasseur added. “But you know what you are doing in your business and it is always a matter of comparison.

“I don’t want to be too optimistic because it was probably one of the issues we had last season.”

Vasseur had already stated that if they can get the car right and challenge Red Bull, it will force the Dutchman into mistakes.

Do you think Ferrari can catch up to Red Bull and challenge them for championships in 2024?

Feature Image Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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