A double podium against a fifth place and a non-points finish. Seen in these terms, i.e. from the results of the 2023 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, it would not seem at all that Ferrari could aspire to fight with Mercedes to play for second place in the Constructors’ World Championship. Yet Ferrari team principal Frédéric Vasseur thinks it is possible.
Over the last 2 Formula 1 events, both the Brackley and Maranello teams debuted a very substantial package of novelties to find performance after a disappointing, disastrous start to the World Championship.
Mercedes, after testing the new products in Monaco, immediately benefited from the new components with second place for Lewis Hamilton and third for George Russell. An immediate response that led the top management of the German team to think they were on the right path of development for 2023 and had a good basis for next year.
Ferrari, in terms of results, cannot be satisfied. Yet Vasseur looks at the glass half full of the situation, stating that in terms of potential the SF-23 now has that little bit more to be able to aspire to better results. For now, however, we are only talking about potential, because if the team fails to make the car more constant, the convictions would dissolve at the first slight breath of wind.
“With the updates we have taken a step forward in terms of potential. The reference is Miami. At least in qualifying in Barcelona we managed to put Carlos on the front row. And it is probably a step forward. In the race we can say we have taken a step forward compared to Aston Martins, but that’s not enough.”
“We still have a huge gap in terms of performance with Mercedes, from qualifying to the race. That’s where we need to focus all the company’s attention and if we want to get back to doing good races on Sunday in order to score good hauls of points”.
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari
Photo by: Ferrari
Vasseur believes Ferrari will be able to challenge Mercedes once they have sorted out their problems: “I think as soon as we can consistently break the deadlock we can imagine fighting with the Mercedes throughout the race.”
“With Red Bull, on the other hand, it’s another story. Especially with Max. He’s still much faster than us both in qualifying and in the race.”
“Mercedes is not sleeping at all. Between Miami and Barcelona they have brought a big update. This means they are awake. But what we can see from our side is that what we have brought to Spain has paid off in terms of pure performance. If we compare Miami, before the Mercedes update, with the current situation, I think we’ve made a step forward in terms of performance. And so has Mercedes.”
“We’re probably a little faster in qualifying, but too fickle in the race. If we look again at Miami, I think Sainz’s first stint of the race was good. And the second stint very poor. It’s really hard to predict from a track to track where we will be performing or not”.
“We’re starting to get a better picture of the car and we know where we’re performing. I think it’s not a question related to the track layout or the asphalt. Miami was completely different, at least as far as the asphalt is concerned, and we had exactly the same between qualifying and the race”.
“Miami was a completely different track, at least as far as the asphalt is concerned, and we had exactly the same situation between qualifying and the race. Mercedes is a good reference because they introduced a big new package in Monaco and the delta is almost the same It means that what has paid for us in terms of performance is there. I think we have made a step forward, but consistency is still lacking.”