Fred Vasseur praises the outstanding 2023 season that rightfully crowned Verstappen but also thinks that when the Dutchman was put under pressure, he showed some small cracks…
Max Verstappen completed a near-perfect 2023 season, securing 19 victories out of 22 races. He scored points in all 22 races, set a season record with over 1000 laps led. Clinching his third World Championship title, Max Verstappen displayed impeccable driving, making no errors leading to crashes or retirements.
Only Sergio Perez at the beginning of the season and Carlos Sainz in Singapore managed to challenge his dominance. These were sporadic events, minor disturbances in the vast desert of Verstappen’s supremacy, irrelevant in altering the status quo of a year that rightfully crowned Max as the Formula 1 World Champion for the third time.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal of Ferrari, acknowledged all the merits of Verstappen and Red Bull for an exceptional job that started in 2022 and culminated in yet another triumph, the season finale in Yas Marina a few weeks ago.
“It’s not fair for anyone to have doubts about his 2023 season; Max had an exceptional season,” declared Vasseur to Motorsport.com. “He was battling with Perez in the first 2-3 events, then he was on another level.”
Fred Vasseur also commented on the absence of evident mistakes, which made Verstappen’s dominance even more prominent, emphasizing that the genuine lack of competitors for most of the season accentuated this.
“Clearly, he made no mistakes throughout the season, and when he struggled in qualifying, like in Jeddah, it was due to a mechanical issue. And then he was always there, always had good starts, no contacts. The only issue he had was in Las Vegas.” – the French manager pointed out.
“But I think we are getting a bit closer to him. I don’t want to say we are putting him under pressure because it’s not true. In Abu Dhabi, he wasn’t under pressure. But he was more under pressure compared to Zandvoort and other events where, honestly, he was flying.” – he added.
Fred Vasseur emphasized that as soon as Max (and Red Bull) faced pressure from behind, they made mistakes, albeit not as evident. This raises the question of what will be needed in the upcoming season to challenge him and induce more slip-ups and errors.
“As I said, there’s no doubt that Max dominated the entire season. The only issue for us is that, like everyone, he makes more mistakes when under pressure.”
“But no one managed to put him under pressure this season, except us in the last two or three events, or except Carlos in Singapore, where we won the race.”
“And that’s where he started to make some mistakes, or maybe Red Bull made some mistakes in terms of setup. We were too far away to put them under pressure,” concluded the Ferrari Team Principal.