Ferrari fired warning about ‘very difficult’ Max Verstappen

Charles Leclerc lost several potential victories last season through a plethora of errors and issues, which ultimately ruled him out of title contention.

Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) president Angelo Sticchi Damiani believes that Ferrari “must be perfect” to beat Red Bull to the 2023 title, with double World Champion Max Verstappen having been hailed as a “very difficult driver”.

Verstappen was imperious last season, with the Dutchman having remarkably broken the record for most points scored, and most wins in a single season; however, the 25-year-old had Ferrari to thank for a number of his victories.

Errors made by the Maranello-based team handed Verstappen several victories last season, with Charles Leclerc in particular having had his title hopes ruined by strategic mistakes and reliability issues.

Whilst he also made his own mistakes, Leclerc had the pace more often than not to challenge Verstappen consistently, something nobody else could do.

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2023 though, is Leclerc’s chance to really push Verstappen, with Ferrari having solved their reliability issues and hopefully their strategic mishaps too, by hiring a new team principal.

Another season full of errors will see Ferrari endure yet another campaign without a title, but if they magically put everything together, then their wait might just end.

Damiani knows that the Italians have to be “extremely competitive” to beat Red Bull, with perfection being the key to toppling the Austrians.

“[Max] Verstappen is a very difficult driver to beat, especially with this Red Bull team,” Damiani said on the Rai Parlamento podcast.

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“Ferrari must be extremely competitive, they must not allow themselves the luxury of making any mistakes, because they have very good drivers but the team must be perfect to return to win.”

New boss Frederic Vasseur will likely bring some stability to the team, with so much uncertainty having surrounded Mattia Binotto’s tenure.

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Unlike Binotto, though, Vasseur will change things should Ferrari’s strategic team falter once again, with Damiani believing that the Frenchman’s “experience” will only do “great things” for the historic side.

“His [Vasseur] is a very complex task, but I am convinced that thanks to his experience Ferrari will be able to do great things,” he added.

“They represent a great victory for the country. Monza is the history of Formula 1 and Imola is also excellent. Renovation works are planned for both for 2024 circuits that will be more beautiful, and hospitable.”