Ferrari’s car has greater potential now but inconsistency remains – Vasseur

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur admitted they still have a lot of progress to make with their SF-23 following the update they introduced this weekend.

The SF-23 sported reshaped sidepods and a revised engine cover at the Spanish Grand Prix. The team said it did not expect to see immediate gains in lap time but hopes to address the car’s ‘peaky’ handling characteristics which both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr have commented on.

Vasseur said the team could draw some encouraging conclusions from the car’s pace compared to the last round at a fairly representative circuit.

“I think we made a step forward in terms of potential,” he said. “Probably the reference is Miami that on quali pace, we were able to put Carlos on the first row is a step forward.

“In the race you could consider that we made a step forward compared to Aston, but it’s [by] far not enough. We still have a huge delta in terms of performance with Mercedes, quali to race, and it’s where we have to put all the focus of the company if we want to come back and to have good results.”

Both drivers were puzzled by the variations in lap times they experienced during the race, even between stints where they used the same tyre compounds.

“I think the main issue for us is not the potential on the lap from this type of corner or the other, the main issue is the inconsistency,” said Vasseur.

“On Charles’ car for example – between first and third stint with the same compound on one the balance was out of the pace and the last one was okay. And Carlos did a decent first stint, a good last stint, and in the middle he lost 15 or 20 seconds on the competitors.”

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The cause of the inconsistency isn’t clear yet, Vasseur added. “Honestly if I knew, it would be fixed.

“We have 1,000 people focused on this now. It’s very difficult to understand and to fix it because it’s not always the same and not always the same problem.

Race start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
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“It’s true also that in quali you are in free air and race you are not. I think for example Charles struggled a lot on the first stint but he was also closer than the guy in front of him. And it’s probably where we have to [move] forward.”

Although Sainz felt the car was not well-suited to the Circuit de Catalunya, Vasseur said the car’s core problem is the same across different tracks.

“It’s difficult to see because from track to track it’s more or less demanding. You can’t compare Miami and Barcelona in terms of layout, Tarmac and energy on the tyres. But I would say that the global picture is the same.

“The global picture is that we are there in quali and we are not there in the race. We are inconsistent on the same car between compounds and sometimes between the same compounds.”

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2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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7 comments on “Ferrari’s car has greater potential now but inconsistency remains – Vasseur”

  1. “We have 1,000 people focused on this now. It’s very difficult to understand and to fix it because it’s not always the same and not always the same problem.”

    This statement is very troubling. The fact that they can’t differentiate the problems, if they do indeed have multiple problems, means that they haven’t begun to solve the problems.

    1. Exactly, they can’t solve a problem they don’t understand.

      People love to moan about Ferrari, even when they’re the second best team (as has been the case quite often in the V6 era) but it’s frustrating that never seem to make that final step. They arguably have the weakest driver lineup of the top teams, too – depending on if you want to include Aston Martin yet.

  2. After their update they lost the qualify performance and during the car still eats tyres…. In my view this is much worse then before.

  3. It’s not at all obvious where the gains have been since the start of the season. They always seem to take one step forward and then one back.

    I think Vasseur is just trying to put a positive spin on the situation.

  4. Could Hamilton or Verstappen sign for Ferrari so I can again start hating them. Of course they would start winning in that second.

    1. mohit anand
      7th June 2023, 11:56

      hamilton or max can’t change a thing deivers wet never the issue also their current lineup is one of the best both drivers push each other it is the car and team that needs to be fixed

  5. Ferrari saying they’ve improved things and going worse.

    They seem to say it every year and seem to end up further behind than the start of each season

    Rinse and repeat.

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