Two old problems at Ferrari

Ferrari’s fears were confirmed: the demotion does not allow them to fight for victories against Red Bull. In addition, the Bahrain GP questions reliability after Leclerc’s engine failure that cost him an abandonment and they are already investigating in Maranello. Sainz was fourth, added the only 12 points of the team in the first race of the season, but the balance is not positive. The most pessimistic say in the paddock that the concept of the SF-23, successor to the F1-75, also inherits its condition to degrade tires very quickly on rough asphalt such as that of Sakhir. Frederic Vasseur, on the contrary, he believes that it is simply a tuning problem.

“I have never seen a car that can match the pace of another (in reference to RB19) in qualifying and not in the race. It’s a matter of ‘set-up’. It’s not the concept of the car, so We don’t have to look in that direction.” he says main team from Ferrari. His statements contrast with those of Toto Wolff, who has already made it clear that they will change the philosophy of Mercedes to try to get closer to Red Bull and Aston Martin. Vasseur is “completely convinced.” “In qualifying we are with Red Bull, at least in this race, and that’s a positive point. But we must be realistic and to improve we must have a clear perspective. Reliability is not at the level we need”, he sums up.

The French leader sounds optimistic: “Charles (Leclerc) would have finished on the podium, even if Mercedes were not far behind. If we want to win we have to have clean weekends and not full of details”. Vasseur appreciates competitiveness in the SF-23 during the first stint of the race, when Leclerc overtook Pérez: “We all expected Red Bull to be very far away and we put up with them in qualifying, also during the first 15 laps of the race. But if they can do two ‘stints’ with the soft tire and one with the hard; when we did two with hard and one with soft, that’s definitive”.

“In the first part of the race we were closer to Red Bull than Aston Martin, but it is the first race and it is not necessary to draw conclusions. Mercedes will wake up soon and we don’t know what will happen next week in Jeddah”, Fréd closes. He also does not appreciate a significant difference in pace between Leclerc, who was fighting for the podium; and Sainz, who finally saved the fourth. “Charles initially came out with a new set of tires that made all the difference. It was an advantage. Carlos had a lot of degradation, in general that was the problem.

Eyes on Saudi Arabia

Vasseur does not want to fall into the hackneyed we will go better in Jeddahalthough it is expected that the Ferrari take advantage of the high-speed straights and corners of Jeddah Corniche with its brand new power unit. Although the top speed of the SF-23 is a consequence of the engine, yes; but above all the low-load wing that Ferrari opts for for the first three races of the season. It seems appropriate for the Saudi Arabian GP next week, and also for Melbourne, becausee Albert Park’s new configuration makes it a very fast semi-urban. In return, with such a minimal wing, the car generates less downforce, slips more and… degrades more.

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