Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur says they must remain calm over the variations in results they see from race to race.Charles Leclerc took pole position and finished on the podium.
Speaking after Sunday’s race Vasseur said the changes in result from week to week showed how close the teams behind Red Bull are in performance. He contrasted Ferrari’s strong weekend at Spa with McLaren’s performance following their back-to-back podium finishes at Silverstone and the Hungaroring.
“I will stay very calm because we had the same meeting one week ago and we were at the end of the world, McLaren was flying and we were stupid and so on,” Vasseur told media after Sunday’s race in Belgium. “But from one week to the other the McLaren is at the back today and we are at the front.
“It means that we have to stay calm, to take it easy, race after race. We know that the pack is so tight that for one or two tenths you can move from P2 to P11.”
He said the team’s strong result in Belgium was a positive way to go into the summer break.
“It’s not the end of the season, we have a lot to do, but for sure today it’s good to finish the first part of the season on a positive tone. At least we will have the two weeks off with a positive race in mind.”
However Vassseur is keen to see Ferrari replicate their Spa form at other venues and in different situations. “We need a strong weekend in every single conditions: Wet, inter, slicks, long stint, short stint – that we are always there,” he said.
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“It’s good for us. Now we have to understand why we are more comfortable on some tracks than some others.
However he believes “everybody is in the same situation” in the pack behind Red Bull. “We are all a bit inconsistent because you have one or two tenths between the P2 and the P11. It means that for characteristics or for tyre management or level of downforce that you choose at the beginning of the weekend, you can do a very strong one or a poor one.
“We don’t have to draw any definitive conclusion but I think it will be like this until the end of the season, and we have to be more consistent to understand where we are weak, why we are weak, and to try to minimise this kind of weekend.”
One encouraging sign for Ferrari in their performance at Spa was the fact Lewis Hamilton wasn’t able to catch Leclerc during the grand prix. Mercedes’ tyre management has usually been superior to Ferrari’s this year.
Vasseur said their improved tyre life was a consequence of the car’s superior performance at Spa. “Sometimes it’s just that when you don’t have the pace, you have to over-push,” he explained.
“Everybody is managing, even Red Bull were managing a lot during the race. And when you don’t have the pace you have to manage or, if you push, you damage the tyres. But it’s the main driver of the situation. Like, for the strategy, it’s much easier to have a good strategy when the pace is there than when you don’t have the pace.
“When you don’t have the pace, you can do whatever you want, you will be far away. And for tyre deg it’s almost the same. When the pace is there, it’s much easier to manage. When you don’t have the pace, you have to push.”
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2023 Belgian Grand Prix
- Haas drivers fear losing battle for seventh after “grim weekend” in Spa
- Mercedes optimistic they’re “in the right place for winter” with development plan
- Ferrari not convinced by call to equalise engines: ‘Renault is not so far away’
- Ferrari staying “calm” amid swings in performance from race to race
- Pirelli proposes new “super-intermediate” to address wet weather tyre problems