Vasseur: “Last year certain choices were made” on the SF-23 — “we realised that they didn’t work”

Spread the love

On the eve of the Austrian GP, Scuderia Ferrari is preparing to bring updates on the SF-23: a new front wing and revised floor.

After the excellent performance in the last Canadian Grand Prix, the arrival of the developments loads the air of expectations, in the hope of reviving the Maranello team and perhaps being able to repeat what happened in 2022 at the Red Bull Ring when the driver Charles Leclerc signed his last victory for the Ferrari team to date.

The Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera had the opportunity to talk to the team principal Frédéric Vasseur about the direction that the team is taking. He believes that “we are going in the right direction” towards the resolution of the problems seen since the beginning of the 2023 season. The constructors’ ranking rarely lies, and it currently sees Ferrari fourth behind Aston Martin.

If from the beginning there seemed to be something wrong with the car, it is fair to wonder why only now are Ferrari starting to see some progress. Regarding this, Vasseur comments by pointing out how the process of developing a single-seater can be long and difficult:

“In Canada we made steps forward, we had it clear from day one what was wrong with this car, fast in qualifying on a single lap, but difficult to drive in the race.

“We had to ‘turn the ship’, change the direction of developments. It takes months. The journey started in March in the wind tunnel after discovering the problems.”

At the Montreal circuit, the SF-23 showed very strong pace during the race in Canada. Had qualifying not gone wrong, Max Verstappen could well have been challenged by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Austria is a big test to see if the team is actually heading consistently in the right direction.

“It is the opposite of Canada, if we do well there too, we will have confirmation that we have taken the right path.”

Vasseur says Ferrari’s real season does not begin now. The Frenchman has regularly talked about unlocking the potential of the SF-23, and it remains the goal following the promise of Canada.

“It’s not my way of thinking or managing a team. I’ve never even thought for a second to give up. It wasn’t a problem of potential, but of how to exploit it. In Montreal we were running at the pace of Verstappen. It’s clear that this is not enough, the next circuits will tell us a lot.”

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Taking a step back, when Vasseur arrived in Maranello, expectations were quite high, but the events did not reflect them. When asked if anyone had warned him about what the projects and the performance of the future car could have been, the team principal does not point the finger at anyone, commenting however that it has been clear from Bahrain testing that there was something fundementally wrong with the package:

“I don’t feel like blaming anyone. But last year certain choices were made. From the first kilometres in Fiorano, and then in the tests in Bahrain, we realised that they didn’t work. The simulations had underestimated some negative effects on the car’s behavior. So we were forced to look for a compromise between performance and driveability.

Regarding next year, Vasseur confirms that the project of the car will be entrusted again to the technical director Enrico Cardile, but underlines that reinforcements must arrive in each department: “In some areas we are undersized compared to Red Bull, Mercedes or Aston Martin. I’m also pushing to get people outside of the Ferrari world, who bring knowledge from the outside.”