Ferrari fire back at Mercedes over Toto Wolff’s Red Bull F2 car quip

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz pulls into his pit box for a pit stop. Spain June 2023

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz pulls into his pit box for a pit stop. Spain June 2023

After Toto Wolff declared the Red Bull RB19 to be the only F1 car on a grid of “F2 cars” such is the pace advantage, Fred Vasseur reckons Mercedes should shut it given their advantage “in front a couple of years ago”.

Although Lewis Hamilton started the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position, only the second time this season that a car that wasn’t the RB19 has been P1 on the grid, the Briton wasn’t able to finish on the podium as he slumped to fourth place.

He lost out to both Red Bull drivers, Max Verstappen having lined up second on the grid and taking the win while Sergio Perez dashed from P9 to third, with Lando Norris in the McLaren splitting the RB19s.

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Wolff wasn’t impressed and said of Mercedes’ performance, “in the F2 car, it was quick” but that the “F1 car won by 30 seconds.”

Told about his rival team boss’s comments, Vasseur told the media in Budapest: “Give him an F2 car and he will see!

“[Red Bull] are in front but I think the feeling is probably the same as when Mercedes was in front a couple of years ago.

“I think honestly that the most important thing is to be focused on yourself to try and get the best from what we have, to minimise mistakes, to do a better job, and then what will come, will come.

“But I am not sure it makes sense to make this kind of assumption.”

Although Verstappen did record his biggest winning margin of this season in Hungary, the driver 34s ahead of Norris, it has been suggested Red Bull’s advantage over the chasing pack has shrunk in recent races.

Vasseur, whose drivers were seventh and eighth in Hungary, agrees with that assessment but concedes that closing the gap to sit on Red Bull’s rear wing has been made more difficult by the budget cap. recommends

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“Everybody is improving, but the reality with the regulations and the cost cap is that we are improving much less than in the past,” he continued.

“It means that when there is a gap, it is quite difficult to catch that up.

“[If you look] at the last four or five weekends, one time in qualifying it was McLaren ahead, one time it was Mercedes, but we are all behind Red Bull, and at least in the race, they still have a huge gap.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was also asked about Wolff’s F2 comment, the Briton replying with the Mercedes boss’ own comments about there being “no silver bullet in Formula 1.”

He added: “I think it’s always a combination of factors that have to come together to achieve these kind of results.”

Red Bull have won all 11 of this season’s races to grab a 229-point lead in the Constructors’ Championship while holding down the 1-2 in the Drivers’ standings. Ferrari are P4, 285 points off the pace.

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