Fred Vasseur has revealed the biggest change he’s made at Ferrari is a focus on improving every area of the team rather than looking for a magic bullet to fix all problems, and says he hopes that can enable the Scuderia to fight Red Bull in 2024.
On paper, Ferrari made a step back from 2022 to 2023 finishing behind Mercedes in the championship, winning just one race compared to four the previous season and scoring 148 points less.
However, since the team’s last upgrade Carlos Sainz won the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc ended the season fighting both Red Bulls for victory in Las Vegas, and Vassuer believes that’s indicative of a wider culture shift at Ferrari.
“We have to improve on every single topic,” Vasseur told the media. “And it’s not that we’ve something wrong and something good and you fix something make up five tenths.
“The most important thing is that the 1600 people that we have in the team are convinced that they are all a performance contributor, and they’re all trying to push the limit a little bit. Even if it’s for one thousandth of a second, it will be a huge step.
“And I’m more than pleased because between Zandvoort and today, we didn’t massively change the car, we had an upgrade in Japan but basically we kept the same car and we were able to do a much better job with a better understanding of the car, the setup of the car.
“We have room for improvement everywhere. And this feeling is a good one to build up something for next year.”
Vasseur determined to avoid 2023 issue
Vasseur added he’s determined to avoid Ferrari comparing themselves to Red Bull ahead of the season, and said he believes that’s a mistake the team made under previous team principal Mattia Binotto.
2023 started with high hopes of a three-team battle between Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari, but Vasseur said he knew from a few laps of Bahrain testing that his team wouldn’t challenge Max Verstappen and co.
“We are just focused on ourselves and trying to do our best and don’t want to be too optimistic or pessimistic,” Vasseur added. “I think it was probably one of the issues that we had last season. We just have to be focused on what we are doing, and not seek the outcome of the championship before race one.
“I think the mistake would be to imagine that Red Bull have a magic bullet of five tenths or that we made a slip on something. The performance is coming from everywhere in the company, the fact that we’re able to produce parts quicker or the fact that we have a better reliability.
“We gave up too many points this season for different reasons, for reliability, for disqualification in Austin, for impeding in qualifying and that’s clearly where we have to work.”