Fred Vasseur urging calm at Ferrari: We need a clearer picture of our situation

Thomas Maher
Fred Vasseur on the Ferrari pit wall. Bahrain February 2023

New team boss Fred Vasseur on the Ferrari pit wall. Bahrain February 2023

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur said it’s too early to draw conclusions about his team’s performance and reliability after a subdued Bahrain GP.

Following on from Ferrari’s mixed performance in Bahrain, where Charles Leclerc retired from a likely third place with Carlos Sainz finishing fourth, Vasseur has called for calm about the Scuderia’s current situation.

Having swapped out Leclerc’s energy store and control electronics as a ‘precaution’ ahead of Sunday’s race, Leclerc suffered a reliability issue on his car that forced him out while looking good for a podium finish – the investigation into the exact cause of the failure is still underway at Maranello.

With Red Bull romping their way to a 1-2 finish and Ferrari having had to fend off the attentions of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso – a battle Carlos Sainz lost – Vasseur painted a picture of calm as he addressed Ferrari’s position with the media afterward.

Fred Vasseur: This isn’t what we expected before Bahrain

“It’s a shame to not finish the first one. But before drawing any conclusion, we need to understand exactly what’s happened,” he told media, including, in Bahrain.

“But, overall, I would say that the picture is not the one expected before the race. If I want to summarise the situation, I would say that on the quali pace, we are there matching Red Bull, at least in Bahrain, that was a positive point.

“Now that we have to be fully realistic, if we want to improve, we need to have a clearer picture of the situation. Reliability is not at the level that we need if we want to win races. We need to have a clean sheet on the weekend and not small details there and there.” recommends

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Aside from the reliability issue, Ferrari also seemed to struggle with severe tyre degradation, and Vasseur said he isn’t sure just how long it may take to rectify that problem.

“On degradation, I think Charles [Leclerc] would have been able to finish P3, but the degradation is at the level of the Mercedes and not far away on matching the level of Alonso but we’re not at the level of the Red Bull,” he said.

“I don’t have my crystal ball today [on when it may be fixed]. And I think that it’s quite difficult to anticipate, honestly, that sometimes, with tuning, you can fix it, but I hope that it won’t be too long.”

Fred Vasseur: 2022 shows how the season opener isn’t always representative

But Vasseur pointed to the example of last year’s Bahrain race as an example of how one event doesn’t paint a picture for the events of a full season – Ferrari kicked off 2022 with a 1-2 before a season of frustration and missed opportunities.

“It’s never good to start with a DNF and would have preferred to finish like Red Bull, for sure!” he said.

“But now I want to stay consistent in my position, I told the team before testing two weeks ago that the championship won’t be over in Bahrain. It doesn’t matter the result in any case – that was true for the winter test and true for today. The team experienced the opposite situation in the past.

“The most important [matter] now is to be able to have a clearer picture of the situation, where we are failing, and to do a proper analysis on this and to come back as soon as possible.”