Ferrari have been warned it is one thing to catch Red Bull, another thing entirely to topple Max Verstappen.
If you were to remove the dominant Dutchman from the 2023 standings, the championship was actually rather competitive with Sergio Perez finishing 51 points ahead of P3 Lewis Hamilton.
But Verstappen’s performances have been on another level, enough to win the Constructors’ on his own, and a former Ferrari engineer has warned his old team that it will be a difficult task to beat the Red Bull driver.
Ferrari warned Max Verstappen a level above
Luca Baldisserri was Ferrari’s chief track engineer from 2007 to 2015 and he warned his former side that even if their car is as quick as Red Bull’s, it is another challenge to defeat Verstappen.
“Absolutely yes, I think it is,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport on whether catching Red Bull in 2024 was possible. “Also because there is a stability in the regulations which should help us to recover.
“To know what is necessary we would instead have to be inside the team. However, it is one thing to recover from the Red Bull, another thing, more difficult, is to catch up on Red Bull and Verstappen.”
The general consensus in 2023 was that in qualifying, Ferrari were not too far behind Red Bull with the team securing the second most poles but it is in the race where the Milton Keynes was a step ahed.
“I would say qualifying, in which Ferrari was very close, if not ahead, of Red Bull. And what’s more, [Carlos] Sainz won a race, albeit on an atypical track like Singapore,” Baldisserri commented.
“If we don’t look at things with the eye of the fan who would like to see Ferrari always win, it didn’t go bad.”
“It had a normal performance, especially for a team that has changed the top management of the organisation.
“When I analyse a single-seater I always do so by considering the performance of its second driver. And in this sense it is even more clear that Ferrari’s performance was not much lower than that of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull. The other came far because it had an extraterrestrial behind the wheel.”