Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Fiorano, 2023

Vasseur unimpressed by “virtual” launches as Ferrari thrill fans with track run

2023 F1 season

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New Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur says he wasn’t impressed by the “virtual” launches several of his team’s rivals arranged for the 2023 season.

Ferrari made a dramatic start to their new campaign by presenting their new SF-23 in front of an audience and immediately running it on their Fiorano test track.

Vasseur, who only joined the team last month, said Ferrari’s presentation of the new car was an “emotional” occasion.

“We put so much effort – honestly not myself, I joined too late, my contribution is very small on this one – but I can perfectly feel the work done on the car and now it will be a new journey for the project because the car will move to the race team,” he said.

“It’s a great feeling, it’s like when you are back on track, it’s like when you’re back at school, and I can feel that everybody’s very proud of the job done. And this feeling is very important for the motivation of everybody and for the season.

“It will be a quite long season, but the motivation is there and it’s crucial in terms of performance.”

While some other teams have presented genuine 2023 cars, including McLaren and Aston Martin yesterday, others presented models in current liveries or issued renderings of their designs. Vasseur said he was proud of Ferrari’s launch event.

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“This is a good feeling,” he said. “The look of the launch of the other teams I think it was a bit virtual or online.

Ferrari launch was “the best way to start the season”
“I don’t want to speak about the others but I’m more than proud to do something like this with all the tifosi around the track, with guests, it’s a really big event and for us it’s the best way to start the season.”

Charles Leclerc was the first of the team’s drivers to drive the new car, for two laps. A video produced by Ferrari showed Vasseur tossing a coin to determine who had the first run. Carlos Sainz Jnr than got three laps around Fiorano in the SF-23.

There will be just three days of official pre-season testing before the start of the new season. “Three days is a lot in one end and it’s nothing in the other,” said Vasseur. “Because you have two drivers, it’s one day-and-a-half each.

“They did some training but nothing can replace the real car and and the real session. They also will have the pressure of the results, it means that it will be a completely different game.

“But I’m sure that they will be ready. We will have to cover all the aspects of the car in three days but I think it will be okay.”

Sainz added his praise for the format of Ferrari’s launch. “I think we’ve nailed it, to be honest,” he said. “I don’t want to be obviously too optimistic but I think a launch like this is also a bit what’s missing in F1: Getting the fans involved, getting the media, getting the partners involved. It’s been a great day.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Vasseur unimpressed by “virtual” launches as Ferrari thrill fans with track run”

  1. It is all very well being holier than the other teams about launches as long as you are not doing the same thing yourself, in which case you are a hypocrite.

    The front wing on the new car is surely not legal as Mercedes found when they displayed similar studs and the FIA jumped on the wing. If so how much else on this car is only for the current show.

    1. @witan
      The revised technical regs published in December removed the key sentence that laid down the requirement for such strakes to be ‘primarily’ for mechanical, structural or measurement reasons. They are now legal.

      1. Thanks. I hadn’t caught up with that change. So Fred is not in the dock for hypocrisy.

  2. This is fan engagement. Other teams should watch and learn.

  3. I think this is great and I admire Ferrari’s approach to their car launch. So much better than livery (marketing) launches.

    1. Though having their own track surely made it easier @phil-f1-21 (Red Bull ring, hmm, yeah, but the real factory is in the UK).

      1. Indeed. Of course it makes it easier to organise. I am sure Red Bull or others could have done a real car launch though if they chose to or used Silverstone maybe. That’s neutral territory, kind of.

        1. @phil-f1-21 Unless, as is commonly the case at Silverstone at this time of year, the track is unusable due to frost ;)

  4. Great for Ferrari and F1.

  5. Ermm, didn’t his old team do a virtual launch, which he was in charge off and probably signed off on, or had some sort of input.

    1. The PR/Marketing departments are the ones that really drive these events/plans and I’m not sure if the team principle signs off on this stuff or if it’s more on the owners/boards. These events are more for the sponsors than anyone else. I would also be suprised if team principles have any sort of management control on the marketing departments as their focus is more in-line with all operations directly related to the cars. Marketing departments tend to be very separate to that of normal business operations and generally under the umbrella of the owners/boards.

    2. The old team didn’t have a reputation of excitement to maintain.

  6. Bingo!
    (to: Vasseur)

  7. Mark in Florida
    15th February 2023, 2:44

    I like Fred more and more. So far he’s been a breath of fresh air for Ferrari. I agree 100% that teams should show a real car not an ai generated model or a mockup. The new car looks great! Also Ferraris WEC car looks fantastic as well. I’ll get to see it in person in a few weeks.

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