After Carlos Sainz’s victory in Singapore just one week ago, the first of the Frederic Vasseur era, Scuderia Ferrari entered the Japanese Grand Prix weekend aware that replicating the Marina Bay result and performance would be nearly impossible.
The gap to Red Bull remains too substantial, and after the surprising difficulties of the previous week, Red Bull has returned to its season-long form. Furthermore, the Maranello team has been contending with a resurgent McLaren and Mercedes for several races now.
However, the two Ferrari cars managed to finish at Suzuka in fourth and sixth place, just seconds away from the podium, which had been set as the goal for the event.
In an interview after the race, Frederic Vasseur commented on the team’s performance: “You can’t be completely satisfied when you finish fourth and sixth,” said Ferrari’s Team Principal. “On the other hand, we’re closing in on Mercedes, and I think today it was difficult to do better. We made the right strategy choice, and everything went rather well, even in terms of tire degradation. The goal now is to catch up to Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, and today, we managed to get a little closer.” – the French manager pointed out.
The Suzuka event was also a fairly positive race for Charles Leclerc, following a couple of weeks where he appeared to struggle. “I don’t think he ever lost the feeling with the car,” said Frederic Vasseur. “Last week, he came just a few hundredths away from starting on the front row. We shouldn’t be too optimistic or pessimistic based solely on the results. The battle with McLaren and Mercedes is a good one, and we just need to focus on doing our best,” Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur concluded following the Japanese Grand Prix.