Low speed performance “will be hopefully improved” — Leclerc and Vasseur discuss Ferrari’s F1 Imola GP updates

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
Spread the love

Scuderia Ferrari has not updated their car since Bahrain. Red Bull and Mclaren brought upgrades to the Japanese and Miami Grands Prix respectively.

Both have shown that the upgrades are key this season, which can be seen from Miami as Norris took his maiden win after the MCL38 was significantly changed.

Vasseur pointed out with how close the front of the field is this season that even a slight upgrade can be a major difference concerning on track performance.

“Two of our competitors brought parts this weekend [in Miami], and it was not a game-changer at the end of the day.

“I think we have a kind of some thought into the development of this current car and, when we are bringing something, it’s never a mega upgrade.

“It’s true that when you are in quali and you have four or five cars in one-tenth, if you bring one-tenth, it’s a game changer for the weekend.”

Leclerc also expressed the importance of bringing upgrades as he talks about how the McLarens were plain quicker compared to Ferrari in Shanghai and Miami.

Miami was also the race where Mclaren brought in a full upgrade package for Norris and a decent chunk of it for Piastri.

Nonetheless, he was satisfied at how close they were to Red Bull Racing.

“Well, if we compare ourselves to Max [Verstappen] this weekend, it’s been a positive weekend. However, we cannot completely ignore Lando [Norris]. And Lando [Norris] in SQ2, I remember he did a lap where I was like, ‘OK, they are extremely quick’.

“Then for some reason, and as Lando [Norris] said, I think they weren’t as special on Saturday for some reason. But today they were really, really strong.

“As I’ve said many times, I think the season will be up to upgrades. We have ours coming very soon and that will define a little bit the rest of the season for us.

“So we’ve got to work hard and hopefully those upgrades will be as good as theirs and will help us to do a significant step forward.”

The Monegasque also talked about Ferrari’s SF-24 main weakness this year. It’s lack of low speed cornering performance means they are giving valuable time away to Red Bull and McLaren.

This affects both their qualifying and race pace. As Vasseur mentioned, even one-tenth difference in lap time makes a huge difference, as qualifying has shown in recent events.

“As I said, upgrades are going to be key for this year.

“However, I think we have a bit of a weakness on this car which is the low speed corners and we were struggling a little bit more compared to them, mostly in the low speed corners.

“And we are losing a lot of lap time so I think part of it will be hopefully improved with the future upgrades.”

Vasseur added that the upgrades for the SF-24 are arriving at Imola is not because it is the team’s home race and want to impress even more in their home country.

“When you are doing the development, it’s not that we want to bring something in Imola because it’s in Italy.

“We are pushing for the development. And as soon as we are ready, we are producing parts.

“The fact that Imola is close to the factory, it’s also helping to bring something because we can release the parts a bit later.

“But it was nothing to do with Italy. And then again on this, we don’t have to expect that it will be a game changer, but it’s so tight that this can bring performance.”

Heading into Imola, Ferrari are 52 points behind the reigning Constructor Champions, Red Bull. The Italian giants sit 63 points ahead of McLaren.

The Imola upgrades will be crucial for Ferrari as they look to get themselves into winning contention more often this year, following on from Carlos Sainz’s win in Australia.