Ferrari still not a ‘world championship candidate’ according to Ralf Schumacher
Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes Ferrari are not yet world champion candidates, given their form in 2023. The team failed to get the dream start they would have wanted, having been thwarted by Red Bull and Aston Martin at both the opening GPs.
Frenchman Fred Vasseur was brought in to replace Mattia Binotto after the Italian was unable to lead the Scuderia to success in 2022, despite having a competitive car.
Schumacher lauded Vasseur's ground-up approach to team management but still believes the Maranello-based team is not yet ready to dethrone 2022 champions Red Bull.
The 47-year-old told Auto Bild about Ferrari's progress:
“He learned motorsport from scratch, and he seems to have great social skills, who finds the right approach to get the maximum out of each employee. But I still don’t think they will be a World Championship candidate. Even though I would like it to be because of the tension.”
Charles Leclerc dropped out of the first race in Bahrain due to a reliability issue, while his teammate Carlos Sainz recorded a P4 finish, behind Fernando Alonso. The team failed to impress in Jeddah as well, with both drivers struggling for grip on the hard compound tire.
Internal leaks responsible for negative press for Ferrari after Bahrain GP
Reports suggest that some members of the Ferrari team intentionally leaked information, resulting in negative publicity after the 2023 Bahrain GP.
Shortly after the race, the contract details of certain Scuderia employees were publicly disclosed, allegedly due to an internal leak.
Although team principal Fred Vasseur is reportedly unaffected by the leaks, he recognizes the need to address the matter. The leaked information contained details of aerodynamicist Enrico Cardile's contract, which is due to expire soon.
The perpetrators of the leaks are believed to hold a grudge against upper management.
Ferrari's performance in Jeddah was disappointing, as Leclerc finished P7 and Sainz recorded a P6 finish.
It is unclear whether the Italian racing giant will be able to reclaim its position at the top of the racing world. Currently, Red Bull is the clear favorite for the title in 2023 with one-two finishes in the season's first two races.