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Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur shares Ferrari compromise that overcame major weakness

Frederic Vasseur has shared how Ferrari has counter-acted an area it struggled in last season, which has allowed the Italian team to take a step forward in 2024.

Vasseur
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Frederic Vasseur has underlined a key sacrifice made by Ferrari in order to correct a season-long issue it suffered with in 2023.

The Scuderia's team principal highlighted where the team has been "damaged a little bit" during the current campaign, but emphasised that the pay-off has ultimately led to more points and the team "going in the right direction" overall.

The Italian team has taken two wins in 2024, courtesy of Carlos Sainz's victory in Australia and Charles Leclerc taking a long-awaited top step at his home race. Last season, it had to wait until round 15, in Singapore, for the only win of the year.

Central to Ferrari's struggles in 2023 was its poor tyre management, which would hamper often strong qualifying pace. Both Sainz and Leclerc would find themselves unable to push during grand prix. Therefore, driveability was a key focus during the off-season, according to technical director Enrico Cardile.

"I think we did a step forward in the tyre management," Vasseur told media including RacingNews365 after the Monaco Grand Prix when asked how much the winter focus helped during the race.

"It was not first topic today why - it wasn't more management, but the pace [of the grand prix].

"Last year, we are a clear picture of the situation - that we are performing in quali[fying]. We were struggling a bit more on the long stint. We were struggling on some corners and less than some others."

One step back for two steps forward

Last year, Charles Leclerc failed to convert any of his five pole positions into grand prix wins - part of a 12 race streak he ended at the Monaco Grand Prix. 

Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, was fastest in qualifying twice. The Spanish driver taking third-place after leading the field away at the Italian Grand Prix. However, he would win from pole at the next round - Singapore.

Those seven pole positions in total were half of the number achieved by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez combined, but the Red Bull duo went on to win 21 of 22 races. Lewis Hamilton took the one remaining pole, in Hungary.

This term, Verstappen began the year with seven consecutive poles - a run only ended by Leclerc in Monaco. Excluding sprint results, after eight rounds, Ferrari has 212 points (232 in total). In 2023, the team had 111 points at this stage (122 in total).

At that point, Ferrari was fourth in the constructors' fight. It is now in second-place, and considerably closer to Red Bull. Overall, it was almost 200 points behind (321 to 122), whereas this year, the gap is currently just 24 points in total.

"We worked on our weaknesses, we did a good step forward - probably that we damaged a little bit the pace in quali compared to last year," Vasseur explained.

"But I think it's also for the benefit of the race, and at the end [of the day], we score much more points this season than last year. I think that we are going in the right direction."

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