Ferrari made a “step forward” but need more consistency in races – Vasseur

Formula 1

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Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur says they need to improve the consistency of their performance across different tyre compounds after the Mexican Grand Prix.

The team locked out the front row of grid last weekend but their drivers fell behind Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton by the end of the race. However Vasseur was encouraged by the pace of Charles Leclerc’s opening stint on the medium tyre compound despite the damage his car suffered when he tangled with Sergio Perez.

“My feeling on the pit wall is that the first stint was okay but we were three or four tenths slower than Max with the damage on the car,” he said. “It was, I think, almost a good stint.”

Ferrari extended Leclerc’s first stint until lap 31, much longer than several of his rivals, but found he lacked pace after switching him to the harder rubber. “With the hard we were never able to restart the tyres,” said Vasseur. “We were always on the shy side and it didn’t work at all.”

Vasseur said he was not frustrated by their race but that it had highlighted clear areas for improvement.

“I don’t want to say that it’s a bad race. We had a bad stint at the end, which is clear, and it’s the main issue today. But the first part of the race went very well.

“I think that we are doing a step forward. Now we did four pole positions out of the last six races, it’s a step forward for us and we have to be probably a bit more consistent on the race or at least to have no delta between the stints because it’s very often where we are losing the positions.”

He said he wasn’t interested in considering whether the timing of the mid-race red flag disadvantaged his drivers, and stressed the team need to ensure it is competitive across a range of tyre compounds.

“I don’t want to race with ‘if, if, if’ [or] what happened if we pitted two laps after, it was with the red flag and we’d have started from pole position and so on and so on. Races are like this, you have tons of events.

“The feeling is that we were able to match, almost, Max, and to be probably a bit faster than Lewis on the first part of the race, and we lost the path of the event on the second stint. And I see the only difference is the compound.”

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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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8 comments on “Ferrari made a “step forward” but need more consistency in races – Vasseur”

  1. It’s incredibly rare that Ferrari ends a season stronger than they started. Post the Schumacher-era, 2009 is the only season I remember where they finished in stronger form than they started with.

    Their car is a match for Red Bull on Saturdays, and if they can fix their tyre management issues and performance on different fuel loads on Sundays, they should be ready to take the fight to Red Bull in 2024. Mclaren’s progress this season has taken a lot of shine away from Ferrari’s post summer break form, which has been quite a massive improvement as well.

    1. I think it’s a bit optimistic to think that Ferrari has made any progress at all.
      Yes they are fast but they screwed this race up just like all the others.
      There is no way in hell Hamilton should have finished a head of LeClerc.
      He was 5 seconds ahead of Hamilton with a broken wing yet somehow in the end ends up five seconds behind him with the repaired front end.
      When they start winning races then I will believe it but for now nothing has changed. They can’t get out of their own way.
      Perhaps they can pooch Red Bulls strategist because they do not have a clue.

      1. They were 2 seconds behind Red Bull and firmly entrenched in mid field at season’s beginning, now they’re second-fourth best team – track dependant. I’d call that progress however modest that is. Still the only team to beat RB, though.

        1. Surely not second. Fourth more realistic if consistency is taken into play. Merc and McLaren better all around. If they had competent leadership as their competitors do, second for sure.

          1. Yeh, leadership is rubbish for sure, no progress there of course but Red Bull themselves said Ferrari were their biggest threat during the Canada and Singapore weekends hence second best in those scenarios albeit two races only.

      2. Dave.. you have to ask why was their race screwed up? It was because for 2 race weekends in a row, Ferrari got their strategy wrong. Austin should have been a two stop from the start, which Ferrari got wrong.. and they got really unlucky with the crash and red flag at Mexico. They could have genuinely taken the fight to Red Bull on both of the previous race weekends. Lets not forget that they took the win in Singapore.. and that they’ve taken more poles than Red Bull in the last 6 race weekends.

        If you compare that to the start of the season, where they were absolutely nowhere in terms of Saturday pace or Sunday race pace, I would say that is definite progress.

        1. Yes you are correct the pace is good and there is improvement in that area.
          If they had good leadership they would be doing much better than they are now. They constantly make bad strategic decisions and the drivers are not consistent, at least in LeClerc’s case.
          How Hamilton not only got ahead of LEC in Mexico but was able to increase his lead near the end of the race on worn tires is baffling but as ALO says “it’s Ferrari”.
          They screwed him out of a championship in 2012 as I am sure you remember.
          They luckily had Brawn at the time they dominated but since then pathetic. I don’t dislike them but I don’t see the latest change as helping. They could have given Binotti more time but Charles got his feelings hurt so they start from scratch once again.
          We will learn a lot in the next 3 races.

  2. I feel like if the red flag hadn’t happened, Lewis would not have been able to catch Charles, possibly even coming under threat from Sainz if they would make the one-stop work. Then Ferrari would probably have caught up to Mercedes further in the championship. For once they actually had the right strategy and made the right calls, only to have a red flag hinder their race.
    Better to have it like this than the other way around though…

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