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Frederic Vasseur

Red Bull 'comfort' is 'not the case anymore' - Vasseur

Frederic Vasseur has pointed out that Red Bull no longer has the "comfort" of being "not really at risk" from its weaknesses due to its impressive race pace.

Vasseur Monaco
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Frederic Vasseur has said Red Bull no longer has the "comfort" it enjoyed last season, when it could mask any issues it had by controlling races through its overwhelming pace advantage.

The Ferrari team principal believes gone are the days the Milton Keynes outfit could recover to take victory even if it had suffered a mistake or problem in qualifying - with any other previously undetected weaknesses of the Red Bull also now laid bare.

The constructors' champions began the current campaign in similar fashion to the imperious form it showed last year, but over the past few rounds both the Scuderia and McLaren have eaten away at its advantage.

"I think last year they had a very decent gap," Vasseur explained to media including RacingNews365 when asked if he was surprised to see Red Bull weaknesses, or if he felt those underlying deficiencies were always there.

"Sometimes we were able to be to fight with them for the quali[fying]. But in the race, [on] average it was four or five tenths [of a second]. When you have four or five tenths of difference, you are not really at risk.

"Even if you miss the quali... I think it was Jeddah where Max [Verstappen] started P9 last year and after three laps he was a leading - they [Red Bull] had this comfort."

Red Bull race dominance 'not the case anymore'

The 56-year-old highlighted last season's Austrian Grand Prix to further illustrate his point, when Max Verstappen held such a gap over Charles Leclerc behind that he was able to make an extra pit stop to claim the bonus point for fastest lap as well.

"But everything could happen, even on the strategy, that Max pitted in Austria on the last lap to do a fastest lap stop," he said. "It means that on the strategy, they had one pit stop of gap, and in these conditions, even if you do a mistake, it's transparent, but this season it's not the case anymore."

McLaren introduced a raft of upgrades at the Miami Grand Prix - which it won, courtesy of Lando Norris - and Ferrari followed suit in Imola. Both updates have put the respective teams right on the heels of the champions.

With Red Bull yet to substantively develop its 2024 package and facing diminishing returns, Vasseur believes it must now battle on two fronts - in a fight he is hoping to come out the victor.

"It's not just the case with us," he added, "but it's not the case between the Red Bull and McLaren because McLaren is closer - and from this fight we have to get the best [of the other two teams]."

Also interesting:

Is Ocon's future now in danger after the incident in Monaco? And has the track become too outdated for F1? In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Tune in below!

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