Frederic Vasseur explains why Ferrari aren’t worried ahead of 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

Red Bull looked strongest during pre-season testing and are tipped as the favourites ahead of this weekend's Bahrain GP.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has warned that this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix will be a “completely different story” to last week’s pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, as all the teams prepare to fully unlock their 2023 cars.

Red Bull were by far the strongest side during pre-season testing, with many having labelled them as the favourites for victory this weekend in Bahrain.

However, Vasseur has raised the argument that this weekend’s track conditions will be completely different to what they were during testing, where the majority of the running was completed during the day.

The baking hot sun saw the track surface rise to 55 degrees Celsius on the final day, completely different conditions to what the drivers will face in qualifying and in the race.

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Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 3 are the only sessions that will be run at a time of day where the track temperatures could be that hot, with qualifying and the race taking place at the start of the night in the Middle East.

With that in mind, the track can actually be fairly cool during the weekend’s vital sessions, meaning the true pecking order perhaps won’t be discovered until Free Practice 2.

Vasseur therefore, wants the test to be remembered as purely “a test”, and not “the first FP1” of the season.

“What you have to keep in mind is that the race will be a completely different story with what we did this weekend,” he explained to media including RacingNews365 during last week’s testing.

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“When Charles did the lap time this [test day three] morning, it was 55 degrees of track temp.

“We have the race at six or seven, and also qualifying means that it is a completely different story.

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“We have to take the test as a test and not as the first FP1 of the race in Bahrain.

“I think for this we did a good job to scan very large items on the car, focused on the long stints and did good improvements to the car.”

Ferrari are a side that Red Bull are somewhat cautious of, with the Austrians being unaware of just how much pace the Italians have heading into this weekend.