‘Only one stupido’: Frederic Vasseur reacts to Toto Wolff prank

Ferrari already have power unit concerns after Charles Leclerc retired with a power unit-based issue in Bahrain last weekend.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff were in good spirits before their disappointing Bahrain Grand Prix, with Wolff having played with the Frenchman’s ear whilst he was giving an interview.

Wolff and Vasseur have been seen in the paddock chatting together several times over the years, with Vasseur’s new job at Ferrari having so far not put a dent in their friendship.

Had Wolff played the prank after the race then Vasseur’s reaction might have been different, given that Charles Leclerc retired with a reliability issue.

“It‘s Toto,” F1TV presenter Will Buxton said to Vasseur, whilst Wolff was touching his ear.

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“Yeah I know. There is only one stupido doing something like this in the paddock,” Vasseur replied.

“You looking forward to the fight with Mercedes?” Buxton asked.

“Yeah but before tomorrow (laughs),” joked Vasseur.

Mercedes and Ferrari ended up not fighting each other at all, with the Italians having been comfortably faster both in qualifying and the race.

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Ferrari qualified third and fourth whilst Mercedes found themselves in sixth and seventh, highlighting the difference between the two.

Carlos Sainz finished the race in fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with the British driver having not had the pace to overtake the Spaniard.

Leclerc had been running second prior to his retirement, with Vasseur believing it proves that the Italians are “closer to Red Bull”.

“If you have a look at the first part of the race, I think we are closer to Red Bull than to Aston Martin,” Vasseur told reporters, including GPblog.

“But again, it’s race one and we don’t have to draw any conclusions. I think that Mercedes will wake up soon. We don’t know what could happen next week. Next week will be a different story in Jeddah, with a different tarmac. Let’s see after Jeddah if we have a better picture.”

Vasseur was actually very upbeat about Ferrari’s potential despite the disappointment of Leclerc’s retirement, with the Frenchman believing that the Maranello-based team now have a “better picture of the situation”.

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“The fact that we’re able to match them in quali, it’s good news. The fact that Charles was able to speed them in the first team was also a good situation for us,” Vasseur added.

“It means that the pace difference at this stage came also from the tyre choice, but we were not able to do soft soft hard. It is like it is, that we have to, you know, the most difficult in my business is to be able to do a proper analysis of the situation, to know what is going well and what is going wrong and to try to get the best on the issues.

“Now that we have a better picture of the situation, we know exactly what we did this weekend and we have to make a step forward.”