Whoever said that fighting until the last lap of the last race of the Formula 1 World Championship could compromise the competitiveness of the following season? This is the essence of Frédéric Vasseur’s words at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix, which took place last weekend at Suzuka.
Thanks to the results achieved in Marina Bay and Suzuka, Ferrari has rekindled its battle for second place in the Constructors’ World Championship, currently held by Mercedes but far less secure than a few weeks ago.
Since Formula 1 decided to implement the Budget Cap to contain costs, there’s a school of thought that considers teams forced to fight until the end of the current season at a disadvantage for the following year. However, Fred Vasseur doesn’t share this perspective. On the contrary.
The French manager believes that pushing the team until the end can be helpful mentally, motivationally, and in terms of performance. Continuously working on the car to address its flaws and find solutions can be an excellent method for having a stronger car in the following year.
“We mustn’t postpone the fight; the battle now is with Mercedes, and we must engage in it. It’s always the best way to prepare for the future, for the team’s mindset, it’s crucial for everyone to be in the fight. We want to battle until the end of the season.” – the French manager pointed out – “This is never a sacrifice because I believe that performance comes from making performances. It’s too late to go to the wind tunnel for this season, but what we can do on the current car can help us next season.” – he added.
In the meantime, Ferrari has managed to improve its performance over the last few races. According to Frederic Vasseur, even before the summer break, the SF-23 had shown signs of improvement. Therefore, it was well before the recent updates brought to the track.
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“Before the break, we were already in good shape. Even at Spa-Francorchamps, Charles [Leclerc] showed that the car had good potential. He should have started fourth, but he ended up on pole and did well.” It’s often a matter of a hundredth of a second; sometimes, you take a small step, and you feel like everything has changed. It’s not exactly reality, and from race to race, from track to track, everything changes. Even for the drivers, because sometimes the setup is more suitable for Charles, other times for Carlos.” – he continued.
“It’s the nature of the sport; in the end, it’s acceptable that someone does a better job than others from weekend to weekend. I think competition is positive and helps us improve,” concluded the Scuderia Ferrari team principal.