The ‘completely forbidden’ rule at Ferrari with team counting reliability costs

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc walks clear of his stricken Ferrari.

Charles Leclerc was left lamenting his luck after crashing out on the formation lap at Interlagos.

Ferrari are counting the costs of 2023’s reliability issues with team boss Fred Vasseur conceding getting back into the fight next season will be a “relative game”.

This season Ferrari recorded more failures to reach the chequered flag than any team barring Williams.

That the Scuderia had four DNFs, two relating to the car and two because of driver crashes, was bad enough but there were three more non-results because of drivers not being able to start the race or being disqualified.

‘We gave up more points than our competitors’

Carlos Sainz wasn’t able to line up on the grid in Qatar when Ferrari found a fuel leak in the build-up to the Grand Prix, while one race later Charles Leclerc was disqualified from the United States GP classification for failing a post-race car inspection.

Two races later, set to start P2 on the Brazilian Grand Prix grid, he crashed on the formation lap when a hydraulic issue caused his back axle to lock and snapped the car into a spin.

It meant when all was said and done, Ferrari were three points shy of second place in the Constructors’ Championship. They lost to Mercedes who had better reliability on Sundays.

Vasseur admits Ferrari began to leak points already from race one in Bahrain, Leclerc’s first technical DNF of the campaign.

“We started on the wrong foot in Bahrain when we had to stop, we were P3 and [got] the penalty for the second race. It meant for Charles it was almost 25 points of penalty,” he told the media including

“Plus the points that we were giving to the others with the two Mercedes that were behind us.

“But again, it is not only this one. You can do the list.

“Trust me, I have done the list a couple of times and have it in my head the classification without the issues and overall, I think that you have ups and downs during the season.

“For sure, we gave up more points than our competitors and that means it is another topic that we need to work on for next year, to be more opportunistic and more efficient.” recommends

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Small margins between ‘stupid’ and ‘hero’

The Frenchman, who took over from Mattia Binotto in the off-season, says he’ll use Ferrari’s lost points and the what ‘if’ tally as motivation for next season.

“I will keep this [lost points tally] in my mind because I hate to race with ‘if’, because everybody can race with ‘if’ and do a better job,” he added.

“It means that this is completely forbidden at the factory to work with ‘if’ but it is important. It is not to find an excuse at all because it is our fault.

“It is where we have to improve. It is clearly a huge potential in terms of points.”

He firmly believes Ferrari can make inroads into Red Bull’s advantage next season but concedes it’s a game of margins.

“In the factory, words like ‘would’, ‘would’, ‘if’ are taboo,” he said. “We have over 1,000 employees. Everyone has to do their part. If each individual finds a few thousandths, we will make a big leap.

“Red Bull doesn’t have a silver bullet. They are simply well-positioned in every respect.

“We have to stick to Red Bull’s heels and put them under pressure. We saw in the second part of the season that they can be wrong sometimes and don’t always hit the set-up.”

But, he added: “It’s a relative game. If you find one second, but your opponents find one and a half seconds, you look stupid. If they only find half a second, you’re suddenly the hero.”

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