Frederic Vasseur optimistic as Ferrari bring upgrades to 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

Charles Leclerc will take a 10-place grid penalty in Saudi Arabia after being forced to take a third set of control electronics.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has revealed that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will both have “some updates” at their disposal this weekend, as the Maranello-based team attempt to give Red Bull a run for their money.

The Scuderia are hoping to bounce back from a disappointing Bahrain Grand Prix, where Leclerc retired from third due to yet another power unit failure.

Sainz was unable to capitalise on his team-mate’s retirement at the Bahrain International Circuit and finished fourth.

To make matters worse for Leclerc, he has a 10-place grid penalty to take this weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, after having a third set of control electronics fitted to his SF-23 following his engine failure.

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With that in mind, victory for Leclerc this weekend is highly unlikely, but Ferrari have been tipped to have a considerably better weekend than they did in Bahrain.

Vasseur is hopeful that his side can make a “step forward”, given that this weekend’s venue is “completely different” to Bahrain.

“The characteristic of Jeddah is completely different compared to the previous one in Bahrain, in terms of grip and the layout of the track, [which mean] it’s a completely different story,” Vasseur told media, including

“Probably it will swing a little bit more to what we have today. We’ll also bring some some updates in Jeddah and I hope that we do step forward.”

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It’s certainly been a challenging start to the year for Ferrari and for Vasseur, who’s had to deal with speculation that several senior figures are considering their future at Maranello.

Even Vasseur’s happiness at Ferrari has been questioned in the build-up to Saudi Arabia; however, the Frenchman is adamant that he’s happy with the team.

He is aware, though, that Ferrari have “mega room for improvements”, with the side struggling for “performance”.

“For me it’s a problem of performance, it’s not a problem of concept. Now we have the car that we have and we struggled a bit with the balance over the weekend,” he added.

“It means that we have mega room for improvements on this path with our car and our package. I don’t want to speak about updates or new parts, but with Bahrain I think we had a lot of room for improvements in terms of drivability.”

With Ferrari having been challenged by Aston Martin in Bahrain, the Italians car concept has been questioned.

Vasseur believes it’s too soon for those sorts of discussions, though, with the Ferrari boss wanting to wait a few rounds before judging on whether the concept of the SF-23 is incorrect.

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“The most important thing is to stay focused on the current situation to try to get the best from what we have today,” Vasseur said.

“Even if we are bringing updates and we will improve the situation and the competitiveness of the package.

“But keep in mind that Bahrain is not always representative. We are still at the early stage of the car, we only did three days of testing on one track and we need to have a better understanding of the of the car itself to try to get the best from the package.”