Vasseur: Ferrari make step forward… in terms of potential

Ferrari endured a disappointing 2023 Spanish GP with Carlos Sainz dropping from second to fifth, and Charles Leclerc unable to get into the points

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Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur has stated that the upgrades the team has brought to the 2023 Spanish GP have worked and have increased the potential of the SF23.

The weekend was polarising on opposite sides of the garage, as Charles Leclerc struggled with his car in qualifying and the race whilst Carlos Sainz managed to qualify second and finish fifth to collect 10 points for the team.

Ferrari’s latest update saw revamped sidepods that no longer featured a ‘bath tub’ shape but the same general problems appeared to persist as the car struggled to manage its tyres and struggled with balance issues that have been reported at previous races.

But for the Frenchman boss, the issues persisting is not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think we made a step forward in terms of potential,” Vasseur said to select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “A wider reference is Miami. In qualifying pace we were able to put Carlos [Sainz] on the first row.

“And in the race, you could consider it a step forwards compared to Aston [Martin] but it’s not enough, we’ve had a huge dent in terms of performance to Mercedes in qualifying to the race.”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Carlos Sainz of Ferrari into Turn 1 at 2023 Spanish Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Poor Ferrari performance in Spain

After going toe to toe with Lewis Hamilton in the first stint in Spain, Sainz’s pace dropped off relative to the Mercedes cars, as the Spanish driver finished a distant 21 and 13 seconds behind both W14 cars.

Further down the grid, Charles Leclerc’s pit-lane recovery, after qualifying 19th, yielded no points, finishing in P11 and over one minute down on winner Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.

On the plus side, Sainz did finish almost 20 seconds ahead of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin cars suggesting that their overall pace was much stronger than the green AMR23.

“The main issue for us is the inconsistency,” Vasseur continued. “On Charles’ [Leclerc] car, for example, between the first and second stints with the same compound. On the first one, the balance was out of place and the last one was okay-ish.

Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

“Carlos had a decent first stint and a decent last stint, but in the middle, he lost 15 or 20 seconds on the competitors.

“The global picture is the same. We are there in qualifying trim and we are not there in the race. We are inconsistent on the same car between compounds, and sometimes within the same compound.”

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

With the F1 circus finished in Spain, the next race is the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix which will be held at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal over the weekend of June 16-18.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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