Ferrari boss blasts criticism

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur didn't hold back when responding to criticism of the Scuderia this year.

Accusations concerning Ferrari’s decline in the Formula 1 hierarchy were met with resistance by team principal Fred Vasseur. 

Despite a trying weekend at the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, where multiple teams outperformed them in qualifying and the Scuderia secured only ten points from the race, Vasseur debunked claims that Ferrari now sits as the sixth-fastest team on the grid.

The Italian outfit has encountered a tough phase, managing just two top-six finishes since McLaren introduced their high-impact upgrade package at the British Grand Prix. 

As Ferrari approaches their home race, they find themselves glancing over their shoulder, aware of the encroaching competition, rather than confidently eyeing a potential podium finish.

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Recent qualifiers, including Williams securing fourth and tenth positions at Zandvoort, have intensified the competition. 

Williams’ strong showings in Montreal and Silverstone signal their capacity to excel again in Italy.

In response to criticism, Vasseur addressed a select group of press members, asserting, “I think you are a bit harsh in the judgment.” 

He highlighted that Ferrari managed to finish ahead of McLaren in the recent race and maintained their position as the second-fastest team in terms of raw qualifying lap time. 

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He added, “For sure it’s more difficult to improve when you are Mercedes, McLaren or Ferrari than when you are Williams coming from P10. 

“They are making a good step forward and congratulations to them, but we have to improve for sure and we are working like hell. 

“We are making some small steps and I hope we’ll see in our Monza performance.”

Vasseur emphasised that Ferrari’s struggles are magnified by the fiercely competitive landscape of today’s Formula 1. 

Unlike in the past, the field is now tightly packed, and even minor errors are impacting team positions. 

Mercedes, despite being the clear second-best team, has not managed to break away from the pursuing pack. 

The summer break brought about a resurgence for McLaren, Aston Martin, and Williams.

However, the qualifying sessions themselves have revealed a considerable performance gap, with over 1.5 seconds separating the second-place qualifier, Lando Norris, from Charles Leclerc in ninth. 

Reflecting on this, Vasseur remarked, “It was the same in the past except the gap between every single team was much bigger. 

“If we didn’t do a very good job and you were two-tenths off the potential, you didn’t lose position. 

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“Today you lose two-tenths on your potential and I think it was Friday in FP2 you have six or seven cars in one-tenth.”

Ferrari is currently in P4 of the Constructors’ Standings with 201 points, trailing Aston Martin, Mercedes and the almost unstoppable Red Bull Racing outfit.

Carlos Sainz is in P5 of the Drivers’ Standings, while Charles Leclerc is in P6, a disappointing fall from the team’s strong outing last season.