Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur addresses a possible threat from Alpine for the team
Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur is not threatened by rival teams like Alpine catching up to Ferrari amidst a series of performance woes. The Frenchman felt their poor performance in Saudi Arabia did not hamper their development or plan to improve their car.
Asked by Sportskeeda if he was worried that rivals like Alpine could catch up if they spent time addressing the multiple areas where they lacked performance, Vasseur replied:
“No. But with the performance in our business, it’s always coming different areas instead of one thing going well or wrong. It’s not because that we had a poor stint with one area, that we stop the development with the aero, or the suspension or the engine.
"We will continue to our best on every single area of performance. But if you look at the picture of just this weekend, I think the potential of the car was okay-ish on Saturday and perhaps okay-ish at the beginning of the race. But we are not there on the race part.”
The Ferrari team principal was satisfied with their pace in qualifying but believes lacked performance in the race. Vasseur believes the multiple areas to improve won’t stop them from developing or improving other areas of their car.
When it came to reliability, the former Alfa Romeo Team Principal explained that there are no reliability concerns with their engine. Citing how the control electronics failure in Bahrain surprised them, he believes the team is trying to understand the problem.
He explained that a new engine was fitted in Charles Leclerc’s car to ensure the Monegasque started fresh. However, the Ferrari team boss revealed that the previous engine will be tested and used again this season.
Commenting on the reliability of their engine and the problems in Bahrain, Vasseur said:
“At least we did a step forward. I don’t speak about reliability when we don’t have issue. The issue we had in Bahrain was unexpected because it was the first time we had the control unit (electronics) failure. And it’s why also we changed the engine today just for today, just to be sure we are starting from a clean sheet but that’s nothing to do with the engine. We will test the engine later in the season and the engine will come back into the car as soon as possible.”
Ferrari believes tire management is key area that needs improvement
Frederic Vasseur felt Ferrari were competitive in terms of their qualifying performance but lacked pace in the race in Jeddah. He felt Leclerc had a good early stint but lost out to others when he was clueless about their tire compounds. He believes managing different tire compounds was a key area that needed improvisation.
Speaking to media outlets including Sportskeeda about their drop in performance since Bahrain, the Ferrari team principal said:
“It’s an early stage to get a clear picture of the season. So far I think the pace was decent yesterday because I think we made a step forward and we opened the gap, compared to Mercedes and Aston in quali. At least with Charles, we were still four tenths faster than Aston and Mercedes.
"In the first stint we saw that Charles had good comeback but he was on the soft and nobody knows about the different compound. But Carlos was on a decent pace from the first stint with mediums compared to the others and we lost completely the ground. That’s where we need to understand the main issue and we have some improvement to do with carrying on the management of different compounds over the weekend.”
The failure with the control electronics led to a retirement for Leclerc, and a further penalty in Saudi Arabia for using more than three. Despite displaying promising pace in qualifying, the Monegasque driver was unable to keep up with Carlos Sainz and was misinformed about his rival's tire strategies during the race.
Sainz was unable to keep up with the Mercedes and told media, including Sportskeeda, that their overheating problems with the car led to a lot of tire degradation. Ferrari’s Spaniard finished sixth while Leclerc finished in seventh place behind him.
After two races, Ferrari have been overtaken by Aston Martin and Mercedes in the constructors standings and clearly have their work cutout over the next few weeks.