Vasseur proud of “the reaction of the team” after tough first half of 2023 season for Ferrari F1

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This year was completely dominated by Red Bull, that’s no secret. Of the 22 races that were held this year, they won 21 of them, while the three-time world champion, Max Verstappen, was on the top step of the podium for 19 times, something historic within the category.

On the other hand, the only team that was able to defeat Red Bull and snatch victory in a Grand Prix was Ferrari. During the Singapore edition, Carlos Sainz managed to take pole position and maintained the lead during race as he managed his pace and tyres perfectly.

Red Bull’s lack of speed was so bad that it didn’t even have any either of its drivers on the podium, with Max Verstappen being the Austrian team driver who came closest, still finishing in fifth position.

The Maranello-based team was expected to be the biggest competition that Red Bull had at the beginning of the year following a very strong start to 2022, especially with Charles Leclerc.

But after doing simulator work and reaching pre-season testing in Bahrain, reality hit that the SF-23 was not fast enough. We were able to observe that the car struggled significantly in the race pace when it was very hot, in addition to seeing that the car did not adapt correctly to circuits with high aerodynamic load.

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari’s team principal, Fred Vasseur, believes the Italian team took a significant step in the second half of the 2023 season.

However, he believes it was a mistake to have lofty expectations at the start of the year and hopes not to repeat it for 2024.

“I think the level of expectation was a bit too high at the beginning of the season. We understood quickly the situation after a couple of laps in Bahrain and even a couple of laps into the simulator before Bahrain.

“What I would keep in mind this season is the reaction of the team. We had a tough moment but remember after Jeddah, Miami, Spain or Zandvoort, Zandvoort is not so far away and we were almost lapped,” he commented. “I think that we, compared to Zandvoort, collectively made a huge step forward and this is good for the future. It’s on this progression that we can build for next year.”

Ferrari had already commented that its car for 2024 will have a completely renewed design compared to this year’s SF-23. This in addition to continuing to have one of the strongest driver pairs on the entire grid, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc behind the wheel.

“I don’t know if it will be better next year, nobody knows. But you know what you are doing in your business and it is always a matter of comparison.

“If you can make up one second and the others are doing 1.5 seconds, then you look stupid. But if they do 0.5 seconds, then you look like a hero.

“I don’t want to be too optimistic because it was probably one of the issues we had last season. We just have to be focused on what we are doing and not think about the outcome of the championship before it is won or to look at the prize-giving ceremony before Bahrain.”