Scuderia Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur pointed out that the Maranello team team has to focus on capitalizing on the potential of the SF-23 single-seater at the Baku City Circuit in the next round of the 2023 Formula One championship, rather than focusing on its Formula 1 opponents.
The Azerbaijan will take place based on the Sprint format, but with a major change marked by two qualifying sessions, one for the Sprint race and one for the main event on Sunday. This means that the pace and performance of the flying lap will be even more important this weekend, given the fact that all drivers will have to get the one-lap pace right not once, but twice and on the difficult Baku City circuit, where any mistake most likely results in contact with the walls and barriers.
Despite the poor race pace, the SF-23 proved to be the second-fastest car in terms of qualifying pace at the Bahrain International Circuit and at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, behind the unmatchable Red Bull RB19, but things did not go as planned in Australia, where both Aston Martin and Mercedes seemed ahead, although this was also the result of some miscommunication within Ferrari in the final stages of qualifying.
Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur feels the Maranello team has to remain focused on optimising the potential and performance of its SF-23 car, despite no updates will be introduced this weekend, and not be distracted by what opponents will do in Baku:
“To be focused on Red Bull or Mercedes or Aston Martin, I think it would be a mistake. We have to get the best from what we are doing, and to be focused on ourselves. But we made a good step for me between race two and race three. And if we’re able to bring a couple of updates like this… I think the issue in Melbourne was not the potential of the car, it was more the job that we did as a team to extract the best from this, and that we have to be focused on this.” – the French manager added.
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“Baku will be crucial, because in Baku you have the two qualifyings and the two races and we have to be able as a team to do a better job and to attract the best potential of the car. Then the layout of the track in Baku is completely different. But most important is to get the best from what we are doing, and to be focused on ourselves not on the others.” – he continued.
Frederic Vasseur admitted that the challenging Baku street track is difficult to get right both in terms of set-up and drivability, but the Ferrari boss is confident the team will be able to make the most of the car potential in Azerbaijan:
“I will never say what we did on the car and what was the impact on the behaviour of the car. But for sure we are looking for something a bit more consistent. And I think that we achieved it. I want to have the confirmation in Baku that we’re in a different situation. Baku very often is an extreme track, because it’s windy, and between the buildings the wind is changing completely direction from corner to corner. And it will be a good exercise for everybody. But I think we took the right direction in Melbourne, and we have to confirm it next race.” – Fred Vasseur concluded.