Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur says that his team must find a way of turning up the pressure on Max Verstappen next season.
Ferrari was the only team other than Red Bull to win a grand prix all season. Carlos Sainz Jnr took victory in Singapore on a weekend when Red Bull unusually struggled for pace compared to their rivals.
With Verstappen winning so regularly in 2023, Vasseur said he recognised what a strong season the world champion had throughout 2023.
“I’m not sure anyone has a doubt about this – he had a mega season,” Vasseur admitted. “He was fighting with Checo [Perez] the first two or three events, but then he was on another planet.
“Clearly, he didn’t make a mistake the whole season. I think even when he struggled in qualifying – I think in Jeddah – it was due to an issue. And then he was always there, always making good starts with no contact – the only one [when he did] was Vegas.”
Verstappen led over 1,000 laps of the season in 2023 – far more than any other driver in Formula 1 history. Vasseur believes that placing Verstappen under more pressure will be crucial for him to be challenged next season.
“There is no doubting the fact that he was dominating all the season,” he said. “The only issue for us is, as with everybody, he will make more mistakes when he will be under pressure and nobody was able to put him under pressure this season.
“Other than the last two or three events – or Carlos in Singapore – is where he started to do some mistakes or that Red Bull made some mistakes in terms of set-up. We were just too far away to put this kind of pressure on him.”
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