Vasseur: Ferrari F1 drivers no longer in tyre management “survival mode” in 2024

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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Ferrari seem to have breathed new life into the season, breaking Max Verstappen’s win streak with an emphatic 1-2 finish in Australia. 

Admittedly, Verstappen’s absence played a role in the outcome of the race. Sergio Perez had a messy race, compromised by an errant visor tear-off that got lodged in the floor of his RB20. Even so, it appears that Ferrari had the edge on Red Bull when it came to tyre wear.

Much like in Melbourne, graining was also an issue last year in Las Vegas, where Charles Leclerc started on pole, kept up with both Red Bulls in the race, and narrowly missed out on a win due to an inconveniently-timed safety car.

Asked whether there’s any correlation, Vasseur said, “Coincidence? I don’t know.”

Instead, he pointed towards a general improvement in the area of tyre management, something the team had identified as a major weakness in 2023. 

“It’s true that we are probably in a good shape in this situation, but on the tyre management last weekend, we were able to do the fastest lap on the last lap in Jeddah, and it’s shown that we are going in the right direction on the management of the stints.”

Vasseur explained that the steps taken to improve the drivability of the SF24 compared to its predecessor have helped the drivers to manage their tyres better.

“I’m not sure that we can take it as a direction for development. What is true is that last year the main issue was the fact that the car was very difficult to drive into the race. Then you had to do a step, you were doing mistakes, damaging the tyres, and then it’s kind of a negative spiral. This year it’s much easier, I think, to read for them, to know where is the limit, and to stay just a bit below.

“And when you have to do tyre management, it’s much easier, and they are much more in control than they were last year when they were a bit in survival mode, and by this you are killing the tyres quite quickly.”