Ferrari boss admits caution led to weakness

Ferrari has admitted that they hindered themselves at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s performance in the Japanese Grand Prix shed light on a season-long weakness that has plagued the SF-23, prompting the team to adopt a cautious approach during the race. 

Despite the cautious strategy, the team managed to secure fourth and sixth-place finishes, with Carlos Sainz’s tire-preserving tactics providing an edge on the day when Ferrari was the third-fastest car, trailing only Max Verstappen and the McLarens.

Carlos Sainz openly admitted that the team opted for a conservative strategy to counter Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, acknowledging the team’s reservations about tire performance. 

Team principal Frederic Vasseur echoed these sentiments when addressing the media, stating, “It was a step forward compared to the beginning of the season. 

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“But on the other hand, we were probably a bit too conservative.” 

He continued, “It was true for everybody in the race that we were more scared than the reality. 

“But it was okay, it was under control all of the race, and we think we did a good step forward.”

Ferrari’s journey to improved tire management has been an ongoing process. 

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Notably, the team dedicated considerable effort to setup work at the Zandvoort and Monza races to gain a deeper understanding of their car package. 

This comprehensive approach played a role in breaking Red Bull’s win streak in Singapore, highlighting the team’s commitment to addressing its limitations.

Vasseur emphasized the team’s tire management challenges earlier in the season, saying, “If you ever look at the first couple of races of the season, the tire management was not always our biggest skill.” 

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However, the tire management improvements were evident in Suzuka, even amid the demanding track temperatures. 

Vasseur expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance, noting, “So coming to Suzuka with this track temperature, we were a bit at risk, but at the end of the day, I think we did a good job on that side. 

“The strategy was well managed, and we did well, so a clear step forward compared to the start of the season.”