At this same time last year, Charles Leclerc had scored two wins with Ferrari and they were on their way to a good season. Yet, this year, it has been the “worst-ever start of the season” for him as he only finished one out of three races. Carlos Sainz was in sixth place in Saudi Arabia and he believes that drastic changes must be made to the car not just small modifications.
Ferrari is sitting in fourth place on the standings table. However, their rival Red Bull has won every race so far this season. Fred Vasseur, Ferrari’s new team boss, says that despite this, the mood in the team remains very positive. He does not think it will be possible to make a ‘B-spec’ car that can change their current position. So why is he still feeling positive?
At first, it might be possible that both drivers and Vasseur were exaggerating the situation. Leclerc talked after crashing during the first lap of the Australian Grand Prix. When someone is in a heated moment like this, they probably won’t think clearly. On the other hand, Vasseur might not want to bring down morale or anger the Ferrari board so he would most likely take a positive view on things.
It’s hard to hold Vasseur responsible because the first three places of the circuit – Bahrain, Saudi and Australia – were very different from each other. He said “we can’t judge based on these three events” and also told us that Baku was not conventional so we still don’t know what the final outcome will be. We won’t understand Ferrari’s performance until some normal circuits are done.
This is an image of Charles Leclerc’s car, which is a Ferrari SF-23. The issue with this idea is that getting rid of four tracks would be like skipping almost one fourth of the whole season. Plus, last year Ferrari won at two of those places and could have gotten a third at Azerbaijan if Leclerc’s engine hadn’t broken down. Lastly, Red Bull got good results no matter where they raced, showing that their car works well in all different circumstances. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the SF-23.
Vasseur’s optimism should have been confirmed in Melbourne, a weekend which proved not as successful as expected. For qualifying, Sainz was only able to get fifth and Leclerc was two spots behind in seventh.
The Ferraris had a half-second delay compared to Max Verstappen who got the pole position. This was caused by mistakes made by their pitwall team, who did not manage their lap preparation very well. Vasseur (who is someone important) thinks that this caused Ferrari to lose a possible front row start for one of their drivers.
Ferrari’s performance in the last sector of Melbourne was very disappointing. This means that their cars have trouble competing with other teams at certain tracks. Although Ferrari is not doing very well, it’s still possible for them to transform their track side operations. This is a much easier task than making car improvements which could positively influence their overall performance. So don’t give up on them yet!
The day after, something unexpected happened. Leclerc didn’t make it through the race, while Sainz got to fourth place at the end. However, due to an accident involving him and Fernando Alonso in the 1st corner, he received a five-second penalty that made his final ranking drop down to 12th. Then Ferrari asked what is known as a “right of review” from the FIA about this decision.
Sainz had a bit of bad luck, but he did his best to make up for it by quickly stopping at the red flag. His skills were so good that even though the strategy was complicated, his race speed was just as good as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – they were only 0.2 seconds apart during every lap, adding to Lance Stroll being outclassed by Sainz. Frederic Vasseur is Sainz’s team Principal and General Manager at Scuderia Ferrari.
Vasseur said they tried something different when preparing for Australia, and it worked well. They were feeling disappointed because even though they weren’t far off from accomplishing a great job, they still couldn’t do a good job. In the race, Vasseur’s pace was alright. But then he got unlucky with the red flag and had to make an extra pit stop. After this, Carlos Sainz was able to overtake some cars and keep driving on the tires.
After Sainz got punished by the Race Control, Vasseur felt relieved. He thought Sainz got something positive out of the weekend too. Even though they didn’t earn any points, their performance had improved a lot and they still have 20 more races to go. With high motivation and spirit, Sainz spent some time in the simulator last week.
Vasseur is promising that Ferrari fans won’t have to wait long until they see some changes. Even though there will be no ‘B-spec’ car due to the cost cap and other limits, there will still be lots of smaller updates coming soon.
At the Baku race, many other teams will be bringing their new parts. This is because it’s a really close race to their European headquarters and shipping the new parts saves a lot of time and money. Ferrari though, think they have the perfect aerodynamic setup for Azerbaijan already. And on top of that, having two qualifying sessions for this sprint event makes it more dangerous as there’ll be extra competition. With fewer practice runs, it leaves less time to check if the new stuff actually works.
Ferrari is making sure they’re ready for their upcoming races in Miami, Imola and Barcelona. They have made changes to help improve the balance of the car, which means the updates originally planned for Spain will be brought forward to Italy.
Ferrari are upgrading their car and they will continue to update it. They believe that they can still make lots of improvements on the car, so they will try their best to do so.
We can improve our car by getting more points and make it stable by tweaking the ‘aero’, which is something related to air. So it’s worth it to keep going in this direction.
Vasseur wants to do better than Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin, but he is not promising that he will. Instead, his concentration is more on making sure everyone in the team can do their best. Ferrari failed last year and Vasseur still thinks they have a chance of winning; this thought is what keeps everybody positive. He wants them to focus on improving their car, making good strategies and stopping any new problems from happening.
Vasseur said that the atmosphere on the team was really good despite not achieving their desired results yet and everyone is highly motivated. The drivers also show a lot of support for them. He added that he had a positive relationship with John, the chairman and Benedetto, the CEO and they were all doing their best to make improvements.
– Ferrari F1 needs to figure out why Red Bull’s car is so fast
– Even though it looks like Ferrari wants to copy Red Bull’s design, they’re actually not changing their 2023 F1 car concept
– Charles Leclerc (who drives the Ferrari SF-23) will definitely do well this season according to the Ferrari F1 boss.