Fred Vasseur confident of Ferrari reliability fixes, ‘not a secret’ it needed improving

Henry Valantine
Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur pictured pres-season, January 2023.

Ferrari's Fred Vasseur pictured pres-season, January 2023.

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has acknowledged engine reliability is a key area of improvement for the Scuderia this season, and he is confident that the team are in a “good place” with their new power unit.

Alongside the driver and strategic errors that typified the team’s fall away from challenging for the title last season, nine combined retirements for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz did not help their fortunes.

While not all of them were down to reliability issues – Leclerc sliding off at Paul Ricard, for example – power unit issues were a significant background problem for Ferrari as they were unable to run their engine in high enough modes to regularly challenge Red Bull in races without prompting worries of failures at times.

But while power unit regulations are frozen in terms of outright power gains, teams are able to make changes to their engines based on improving reliability, with Ferrari doing just that in the hope of being more competitive in that department as well this season.

The new team boss admitted they are looking into this, and he is happy with what he has seen at Maranello since he took on the job in January.

“You know the regulation is crystal clear, that the engine is almost frozen that we just can’t change something [other than] for reliability topic,” Vasseur said at the launch of the SF-23.

“Last year it’s not a secret that it was not the best aspect of the engine, but we did a good job at the factory and I think that now we are ready for the season.

“I think that last year that the window for the engine was very small, and let’s see what’s happens this season but I think we are in a good place.”

Three days of pre-season testing will begin in Bahrain from Thursday 23 February and this will be the only time the teams will have before the year gets going to put in full representative running with their new cars beyond their limited permitted filming days and demonstration runs.

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This is down from six days of pre-season running last year as the teams got to grips with radically different regulations, but the Ferrari team boss explained that, while the time for each driver behind the wheel will be limited, the pressure of the season being underway is an entirely different beast altogether.

“Three days is a lot in one end and it’s nothing in the other end because we have two drivers, it’s one day and a half each, they did some training but nothing can replace the real car and the realisation they also will have the pressure of the results,” Vasseur explained.

“It means that it will be a completely different game, but I’m sure that they will be already and we will have to cover all the aspects of the car with us, but I think it will be okay.”