Ferrari react to McLaren surging forward

Ferrari's team principal, Frederic Vasseur, has reflected on McLaren's performance, highlighting their recovery and consistent progress.

Frederic Vasseur, team principal of Ferrari, has provided insights into McLaren’s Formula 1 recovery, emphasising that their resurgence began even before their significant step forward in Austria.

McLaren, based in Woking, initially faced challenges in the 2023 season, falling short of their development targets for their car in the lead-up to pre-season testing. 

Their struggles were apparent as they found themselves at the back of the grid during the nightmare start at the Bahrain Grand Prix. 

However, the team’s fortunes began to change following a substantial upgrade introduced at the Austrian Grand Prix, with further development efforts underway.

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In recent races, McLaren has consistently competed at the front of the field, achieving five podium finishes in the last seven races. 

Their most recent success came in Japan, where they secured their first double podium of the year, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri finishing second and third, respectively, behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

McLaren continued their impressive development turnaround in Singapore with yet another upgrade that bolstered their performance. 

Despite the team’s remarkable revival, Vasseur believes that the Austria update was not the sole turning point for McLaren.

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“I’m not sure if we have exactly the same reading of the season,” Vasseur stated.

“I think that they had a big issue at the beginning, and then they recovered pretty quickly because, even in Barcelona, they were on the second row.”

He elaborated on McLaren’s competitive edge, noting, “I think it was Max [Verstappen], Carlos [Sainz], and then Lando and Lewis [Hamilton] on the second row; they were already competitive. 

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“This kind of track is probably suited more with their car than us. 

“But for sure it’s not just a matter of pure potential; it’s a matter of drivability also.”

Vasseur emphasised the symbiotic relationship between car development and driver performance, explaining, “Each time you will do a step forward, you will also help the driver to do a step forward, and this can be a kind of snowball effect.”