Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Ferrari must take “bold decisions” to maximise performance – Vasseur

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur wants to come out fighting in 2024.

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In brief

Vasseur urges Ferrari to make bold calls

Ferrari go into their second season under team principal Frederic Vasseur looking to build on their strong end to the previous championship. Vasseur wants them to pick up where they left off with an aggressive mindset.

“We are up against the usual tough opponents and I want to see us adopt the same approach we had in the closing stages of last season,” said Vasseur. “We must not be scared to dare if we believe a bold decision can make the difference when it comes to our performance.

“The car appears to be competitive, Charles [Leclerc] and Carlos [Sainz Jnr] are in great shape and the mood in the team is super focused and we are determined to get a good result.”

No big gains at RB – Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda downplayed suggestions RB, formerly AlphaTauri, have made significant strides during the off-season.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve made a massive step compared to the last race and last test of 2023 in Abu Dhabi, but that’s partly because we brought updates there that were already aimed at 2024,” he said. “Last week, we saw once again that they’re working well and that the team has adopted the right philosophy with the car, which seems to handle well without extremes of oversteer or understeer.

“It’s made a step forward on the mechanical side, so I’d say we have a good starting point for this season, with more development to come in the future.”

F1 warned over Bahraini prince Nasser

Formula 1 has been urged not to include Bahraini prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa in prizegiving events at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, due to allegations of his involvement in torture, which the prince denies.

“F1 should avoid the international embarrassment it will bring on itself and on winners of the Bahrain Grand Prix if Prince Nasser presents the awards,” said Brian Dooley, senior adviser at Human Rights First. “Year after year, the F1 organisation is caught in human rights controversies when they hold their races in Bahrain. It could easily avoid this one by announcing that Prince Nasser will not be handing out its prizes while the US government is considering whether to impose sanctions on him.”

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More TV coverage for US F1 fans

Formula 1 viewers in the USA can enjoy expanded coverage of the series on ESPN this year. The channel will add a qualifying pre-show which, like the rest of its coverage, is sourced from British broadcaster Sky. ESPN will also show F1 Academy races live. Its F1 race coverage will remain free of advertising.

Barrichello warns smokers after dog dies

A saddened Rubens Barrichello told his social media followers his pet dog, Speedy, had passed away after swallowing discarded cigarette butts. He urged smokers to dispose of their waste safely instead of dropping it on the floor.

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Social media

Notable posts from X (formerly Twitter), TikTok and more:

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Comment of the day

A new rule intended to avoid collisions in qualifying is fine in theory, but…

They can make the guidance as comprehensive and complicated as they like, but it all counts for nothing if it’s not enforced. How many times last season did drivers get away with precisely this, despite exceeding the maximum lap time, because the stewards identified some external factor?

The only way to achieve consistency is to enforce the rule consistently, not make a different rule.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Bastardo, Kevin, Lame2741, Shminder Chatha and Mitzi!

On this day in motorsport

Adrian Sutil, Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 2009
Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella presented Force India’s second car today in 2009

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...

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39 comments on “Ferrari must take “bold decisions” to maximise performance – Vasseur”

  1. The thing with the latest attempt at stopping drivers driving too slowly in qualifying is that like with many of the silly regulations in F1 it’s trying to fix the symptom rather than the cause.

    The issue of driving exceptionally slowly in qualifying is a relatively new thing that came about as a result of the high degredation tires, More limited number of tires/compounds, how ridiculously temperature sensitive they are now as well as the really high mandated starting pressures.

    If you drive too fast on the out lap you spike the tire temperatures which not only sees you start the lap with less grip but also means as temperatures & pressures go higher over the lap your just losing more & more time as well as increasing the amount of degration the tire is suffering over the lap.
    And once you do the lap you want to bring the temperatures down as quickly as possible & minimise any extra stress been put through the tire just in case you end up needing that set in the race.

    If they gave them better tires that didn’t have artificially high levels of degredation, Weren’t as temperature sensitive & didn’t force teams to run such ridiculously high pressures then they wouldn’t need to baby them so much on out/in laps to begin with.

    But instead let’s just bring in more silly regulation for the already over-regulated & inflated rule book that will serve no purpose other than create more loop holes, controversy & inconsistency which is effectively the only thing any of the silly over-regulation over the past 20 years has done!

    1. What a great point… I’d love to see tyres that are good for more than one lap. Wish they gave Bridgestone a shot.

      P.S. Has anyone noticed any sort of criticism around tyres has died off completely while all the same issues remain? I miss Vettel, he’d be all over this.

    2. How do you suppose the teams manage to make the exact same tyres last for 20 laps during the races, then..?
      Nobody is forcing the drivers/teams to eek every last tiny percentage of performance out of the tyres for qualifying – that’s a choice they make. And because they are making these choices, they are increasingly posing not just a sporting hindrance, but a danger to themselves and each other.

      F1 supplies tyres that are fine for more than one lap – but they are harder and, therefore, slower.
      Teams also have the options of designing their cars in such a way as to not be as hard on the tyres – but again, they are making choices to design and operate them in a specific way that creates this excessive stress and resulting thermal degradation.

      And before we go begging for other tyre manufacturers – while F1’s target letter specifies these types of tyre characteristics, the tyres will be like this no matter who makes them.

      1. What a silly take. How dare the teams drive fast in qualifying!

        1. If the teams are going to complain about tyre wear and overheating – they are entirely responsible for it.
          The rules say no impeding or driving too slow – it’s a compromise.

          Funny that nobody seemed to complain about the shortcomings of the old super-soft qualifying tyres decades ago – which are essentially the same as the softer tyres in Pirelli’s range now….

        2. That’s not what S claimed.

          But I guess it’s difficult for some to decipher a reasonable argument if it doesn’t agree with their beliefs.

      2. Nobody is forcing the drivers/teams to eek every last tiny percentage of performance out of the tyres for qualifying – that’s a choice they make.

        The problem isn’t that teams are doing their best to find that ultimate bit of performance. That’s why people tune in to qualifying and not to free practise.

        The problem is that the Pirelli tyres are so ridiculously sensitive that it takes an enormous amount of prep and careful positioning to get them to perform at their peak for a single lap. Pirelli has said for 10+ years that widening the operating window of their tyres is their focus for a new set of compounds, and they’ve never delivered on that promise.

        If the conclusion is that Pirelli cannot make tyres that are a workable combination of soft, usable and reliable – then they should just say so and drop the softer compounds. But that’s not what happens. They continue to bring soft compounds that have the mentioned characteristics. It’s not the teams’ fault for doing their best to work with what they’re forced to use (by the people who profit from Pirelli’s ongoing ‘sponsorship’ of F1).

        Tyres are always going to be sensitive and important in racing. That’s normal. The situation F1 finds itself in, however, is not normal. And that’s not the teams’ fault.

        1. Not really though. S makes a good point, in that the teams are so far into optimising every last drop of performance they think they might find that they often fall over their own legs in doing it.

          We’ve seen Max (and some others like Leclerc in some races) go out a tad earlier often enough to get a clean lap in instead of getting in the mess of the last second. The reason others do not is only because all of them want to wait in hope to be over the line in the last second of the session to have the maximum of the effect from a rubbered in track.

          Regardless of the tyres, fuel, time, whatever – F1 teams always tend to be incredibly close to that line between stupid fast and just making themselves look stupid. Harder tyres will just give us the Sky F1 team and various drivers along the grid bemoaning how these tyres lack the top end grip, or need too many warmuplaps to get up to speed.

          1. Optimising every last drop of performance is the essence of professional sports. Sports people will always try to get close to the limit without going over.

            If you don’t want them to work their tires this way to gain a bit, you either need good policing (which F1 is not very good at) or make it pointless to do this, because the tires are different.

        2. The teams are provided a tyre by the supplier (it could be anyone, it doesn’t matter – but currently it is Pirelli for everyone) and it is entirely down to them to design and operate their car to make best use of those tyres. The tyres are approximately the same for everyone, so that is their challenge.
          If their determination of ‘best use’ is to run them at 99.99% of peak performance, then of course they aren’t going to last long like that. No tyre will, no matter who produces it.
          Nothing has changed in that respect from 40 years ago – super-soft qualifying specials were the same deal. The difference then was that, other than having somewhat of a choice of tyre manufacturer and compound/construction, the teams were never tasked with making them work for longer than a lap or two. Instead, for longer sessions they had harder and more durable tyres, which were inevitably much slower – several seconds per lap, usually, even with similar fuel loads.
          Since then, F1 (teams, drivers and marketers) have been all over the ‘importance’ of F1 being the fastest at everything above all else, so softer tyres are absolutely necessary. Apparently. Unfortunately, the laws of physics dictate that the softer the tyre, the more friction it produces and the hotter it will get when pushed to its limits – and with F1’s enormous levels of downforce and ever-growing mass, the tyres are getting worked harder and harder every season.

          Keep in mind that Pirelli are constantly tasked with producing tyres for cars that don’t exist yet, and that will certainly be designed to exceed any supplied tyre’s performance capabilities. If they produce a tyre that F1 cars of the day aren’t ready for, then teams will reject it and either opt to stick with what they already have or demand a new one at short notice. They’ve done exactly that in the recent past.

          Pirelli can indeed make tyres with a wider operating window, but F1 doesn’t want them to. They recently rejected tyres that can operate from ambient temperature all the way up to full working temperature, instead preferring the existing type that can only work properly above 70 degrees C.

      3. Coventry Climax
        28th February 2024, 13:07

        Nobody is forcing the drivers/teams to eek every last tiny percentage of performance out of the tyres for qualifying – that’s a choice they make.

        And the absolute essence of sports at the highest level.
        But I agree probably, as F1 does not fall into that category anyway, as far as I’m concerned.
        The majority of fans -whatever it is that defines them- and -hence?- the people running it all, prefer a game show these days.

    3. I’d add to this.
      Teams all still persist in waiting till the last second despite the fact that they all get in each others road and consequently ruin their tyre preparation.
      I’m still amazed that some don’t send their drivers out earlier on a much clearer track so they can indeed set their tyres up optimally instead of trying to find, usually unsuccessfully, space to do it on the crowded track in the last few seconds.
      The old adage that if you keep doing the same thing you get the same result springs to mind, yet no one is prepared to do something different.

      1. That harkens back to the old IBM quip; choosing something different is a risk, whereas going along with everyone else is, if nothing else, a good excuse if it doesn’t work out. And the teams, for all their fancy equipment, don’t really know if track conditions improve towards the end of the session. Even the best weather data isn’t that minute-by-minute specific. We’ve seen so often that the last runs aren’t actually quicker.

        Suppose Mercedes qualifies 4th and 7th. Bit disappointing, but fair enough. Now suppose they set those times earlier than the others. The headlines write themselves. ‘Strategy failure relegates Russell to fourth row’, or ‘Qualifying gamble means win “now unlikely” says Hamilton’, and so on. It’s not a good look.

    4. Coventry Climax
      28th February 2024, 12:54

      I commented something along that line: Find out what’s the real cause for this recent issue of cars bunching up, and then deal with it. Noone here really seemed to care. You’ve identified quite a couple of them in this comment, and I certainly agree with your conclusions. There might be more/other reaons as well, but these certainly are valid.
      In the real world these days though, common sense isn’t common anymore, and things need to be investigated first. With the current FiA and F1 management structure, I sincerely doubt that will happen, unless it’s an investigation to ‘prove’ they made the right decisions.

  2. Sainz and Verstappen at Red Bull would be epic. Easily my pick for who I want to see get the seat in 2025, and where I’d rather see Sainz end up.

    1. Sainz at RedBull and Albon at Mercedes would be great pairings with existing drivers.

      1. Yeah, that would be a really solid reshuffle of the grid, I would like to see that one.

    2. It’s probably not going to happen. Let’s go back to Schumacher and Barrichello, did they change the 2nd driver?

      Let’s fast forward to Vettel and Webber. Even though Webber was capable of causing issues, did they change him? No, they just made his car difficult to start.

      Next on deck, Hamilton and Rosberg – a great rivarly that ended sooner than it should have when Rosberg retired.

      Did they change Rosberg’s replacement, Bottas? At least Bottas was a decent qualifier.

      And onto Verstappen and Perez. As long as Perez is slow, it benefits Verstappen and Red Bull. Clearly Perez can’t get a set up right, can’t accelerate properly or stick with the other Red Bull.

      Ergo, the odds of Sainz going to Red Bull are slim to none and if he does, he needs to learn how to accelerate properly…

  3. I noticed this tweet wasn’t in the Round-up:

    Who actually likes these gender posts? Gender as the justification for anything. As a woman, that offends me, sorry. Please measure me by performance. It’s about sport. About success. That should be valued. I want maximum performance. I want to win. That’s what it’s all about.
    — Sophia Floersch (@SophiaFloersch) February 27, 2024

    That’s real women empowerment, in my opinion. I’ll actually follow her progress and root for her this year!

    1. Precisely. But it goes against the narrative and of course the number of Commissar jobs that goes with it. Universities are churning a lot of people that are unable to do any other thing than politics.

    2. Anyone who gets back in a race car after the type of accident she had at Macau, has my unending respect. To do so and still be competitive, is almost incomprehensible levels of commitment. I genuinely hope she makes it to F1.

      1. I genuinely hope she makes it to F1.

        Look, like you I respect the fact that she got up again after that crash and is racing again. But to still be hoping in 2024 that she’ll make it to F1 is just not realistic. She’ll never get an F1 seat, that ship has sailed years ago. She debuted in single seaters in 2016, that’s 8 years ago, there hasn’t been a single performance that shouts “F1” and she still hasn’t progressed past F3 level. I imagine this

        Sure some drivers mature and genuinely get better, but at some point you can safely draw conclusions. Basically if a driver has F1 level talent, they’ll be among the top group in every feeder series they enter even as a rookie.

        1. There was a broken sentence in there – what I was going to say is I imagine this might be her last year in single seaters before committing to another direction in racing.

        2. Yes, I agee, it’s what we’ve seen so far, a f1 level driver will be competitive in a minor formula his first year and a top level f1 driver will absolutely win the first year in the minor formula.

    3. I saw that and couldn’t tell whether by ‘posts’ she meant social media posts or jobs.

      1. Does it matter? It’s a valid point regardless. The many social media posts where they scrounge up all the women they can find and hide the men in the closet are cringe propaganda. I get what people like you try to do, but the actual effect is just that I increasingly feel that I live in a 1984 world or Plato’s Cave, where the communicated reality is far different from actual reality.

        And hiring women due to their gender puts an asterisk next to all women, since you can no longer trust that they got hired on merit. It also means that the stereotype becomes correct that they are less capable on average for people at their position than men in the same position; and people have a tendency to use stereotypes that are correct.

      2. Coventry Climax
        28th February 2024, 13:11

        If you decide not to choose, you still have made a choice.
        Neil Peart

  4. Holy crap, look at all the paint on that Force India. That’s like 3 seconds a lap right there.

  5. So, the first two GPs in 2022, the first three last year, & only the first this year for the alternative predominantly pink livery.

  6. Mario you are supposed to drive, obviously! Just, don’t start eating it on the way

  7. That “quote” from Tsunoda sounds like it was written by a native speaker, and not anywhere close to how Tsunoda talks.

    We’ll see how much of the Red Bull car has ‘found’ its way to the other Red Bull cars. Ricciardo certainly sounded a lot more optimistic last week.

    1. These quotes are often taken from press statements/briefings, rather than from an interview or even a press conference.
      You see those repeated on various websites (mostly not including the exact source).

      Those statements are always signed off (and mostly ‘pre-quoted’) by the PR staff.

  8. MichaelN,
    Good catch though ! Strangely starting from mid-2023, the Alpha Tauri aerodynamicists were relocated from Faenza to Milton Keynes…

  9. Coventry Climax
    28th February 2024, 13:14

    Ah, Sutil. Anyone knows what he’s doing these days?

    1. He is rich having lots of cars and still races…
      Ferrari Challenge Europe – Trofeo Pirelli (Pro) Gohm – Baron Motorsport

  10. Helmut Marko: Sainz probably wants to make a decision earlier than us.’

    Yeah, why would Red Bull announce Perez’s departure before the season starts?

    In the super unlikely event that they do replace Perez, they would want to announce it towards the end of the season after they win everything and the word everything has a different meaning here. It actually means “even with our 2nd car running dead last for the entire season and not finishing a single race we can win the WDC and WCC and break every record.”

    As we’ve seen Gasly, Albon, and Perez can’t drive that Red Bull and I would not be surprised one bit if the real car is a dream to drive and could win any race in reverse gear. If I were Sainz I wouldn’t be going there before analyzing Spa 2023 to death (the whole season) and trying to understand what explains Perez’s performance because he’s not that slow or incompetent as he appears at Red Bull.

    Of course, Red Bull will attribute it to Verstappen’s incredible talent which seems to vanish whenever he’s close to Lewis as he turns into Draco Malfoy heading to Diagon Alley as opposed to taking the corner in front of him.

    1. That would actually be even more impressive.
      Imagine Verstappen only being an average driver but still winning races, championships, records. And the second car hampered in some way, shape or form by the genius team.
      Quite impressive what RBR produced.

      But maybe reality is much more straightforward and simple, with Michael unable to see facts due to his own prejudice and frustration ;)

      1. Well, RBR do have a history of issues since they won their first championship so it’s not mired in science fiction anymore than Horner is a person of questionable character as evidenced by the recent accusations.

        Also, the diagonal thing is not made up either, it’s actually hilarious to see him leaving the track and forcing the other car off track with no penalty although it’s extremely dangerous.

        It appears to me that you love science fiction a bit more than I do.

        What’s next? Trump replacing Mother Teresa and named Father Terrence? :-)

  11. Well I’ve gone from avid Formula E viewer and advocate, when you could watch full races on free-to-air TV, to semi-interested when they moved to highlights, to totally outside and uninterested now there’s no mainstream channel showing it in the UK. Obviously this is not uncommon with various racing formats, but it’s a particular shame that this has happened to a series that wanted to change perceptions about what motor racing could mean. Hard to do that when only a niche, already-committed audience can perceive the product at all.

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