Vasseur: Ferrari can catch Red Bull despite gap
"I’ll be in the office and push like hell"
Frederic Vasseur admits new car parts in Melbourne next weekend may not move the struggling Ferrari team forwards.
After two races so far in 2023, Carlos Sainz says the Maranello based team at least knows "exactly" what the problem is with its new car.
Boss Vasseur agrees that the problem is excessive tyre wear particularly on the race-friendly hard compounds.
"This Ferrari eats tyres," former Ferrari driver Rene Arnoux told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Today, it’s not 8-10 horsepower than makes you win. It’s aerodynamics," he added.
"Something must now be done, because an extraordinary brand like Ferrari cannot afford to go on like this, especially as Red Bull is such a missile."
Precisely what can be done, however, is unclear.
"We have to focus on that before talking about improvements," said Vasseur.
Aasked if Red Bull could be caught, Vasseur added: "I think so. We have to continue to push. I think it’s not the right attitude to think about the gap, to think will we be able to close the gap and so on. We have to be focused on ourselves, that we know when we are weak, and we have to improve on this one."
"We will see what is the outcome, when we’ll do a decent step. But I think if you start to think about what could be the future potential and with development and so, you are lost. We know that we have to improve, but I think it’s the DNA of our sport. It’s not just due to the DNA of the current situation. We know that we have to work and we’ll continue, and be sure that from tomorrow morning, I’ll be in the office and push like hell."
A particularly disappointed Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, left Saudi Arabia declaring that he hoped some new parts in Melbourne would start to help.
"All the teams have improvements every weekend," Vasseur insists. "The Australian upgrades are already in production.
"But it was already planned, it’s not because of the last result," he clarified. "You always have to develop the car and so will Red Bull."
Ferrari’s performance problems are keeping the spotlight on other internal matters behind doors at Maranello - like raging rumours of more staffing strife for Vasseur to manage.
"Many people told me that Ferrari would be difficult to manage internally," Vasseur said. "But that is not entirely true.
"The atmosphere and collaboration within the team is good, but we have more pressure from outside. That’s my job."
However, he admits the current climate of rumours "can affect the morale of the team".
"Yes, you can be affected by these kinds of rumours that have nothing to do with reality."
So Vasseur hit back at one of the lingering rumours at present - that Ferrari is currently operating without a technical director.
"Enrico Cardile is head of chassis and Enrico Gualtieri is head of the engine," the Frenchman insisted. "It’s the same division as in Mercedes or Renault."
He did admit that one particular department at Maranello needs a shakeup, "but I keep that to myself".
Vasseur: Laurent Mekies is still linked with us
’Not easy’ amid swirling Ferrari rumours - Sainz
Two F1 drivers don’t believe Hamilton rumours
Dominant Red Bull loses three engineers
More on Ferrari