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Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur talks up Imola chances with major upgrade planned

The Frenchman is pleased with the progress of Ferrari's development in 2024 as they head into the first of two home races at Imola

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Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur has declared his team will “without a doubt” fight for victory at the Formula 1 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with a new upgrade package set to help bridge the gap to Red Bull.

The Italian manufacturer have already tasted success once this season with a 1-2 finish at Australian GP in March. The SF-24’s all-round design has consistently enabled Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc to regularly challenge Red Bull star Max Verstappen at the front, with China the only race this season without a Ferrari on the podium.

With a major upgrade planned to be integrated in time for Imola, Vasseur has predicted both of his cars will have the potential to challenge Verstappen for the win – but the Frenchman stressed that expectations must be tempered over their potential improvement.

“Without a doubt, we will be able to fight for the victory in Imola. But I believe there is a gap that varies from track to track and from compound to compound, which makes more of a difference than an update,” Vasseur told select members of the media in Miami, including Total-Motorsport.com.

Charles Leclerc during 2024 Miami Grand Prix | Ferrari
Charles Leclerc finished third at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix | Ferrari

About the upgrade, the Ferrari boss added: “We know that many have brought updates to these races but we finished ahead, we are at the point of development of the car where if you bring something it’s not a matter of seconds, but of tenths.

“It’s not like a few years ago when everything brought three to four tenths. McLaren brought a huge package here [to Miami], but it’s not like it was half a second faster than everyone.”

Ferrari in good shape after Miami

Ferrari will go into one of their two home races in fine form after Leclerc finished third at the Miami GP, with Sainz back in fifth after receiving a five-second penalty from the stewards after the race.

Those results allowed the Scuderia to keep the pressure on Red Bull in the constructors’ championship after taking a 36-point haul from the Miami International Autodrome, collecting 25 points from Sunday’s race and 11 points from the F1 Sprint on Saturday.

Vasseur, 55, was pleased with the team’s pace in Miami and lamented the timing of the safety car, which ultimately compromised Sainz after he had pitted on Lap 27.

“Overall, we had an excellent race. Even Carlos’ pace was exceptional and he was also unlucky with the Safety Car because he had pitted the lap before,” Vasseur added.

“We have to keep the positive aspects of this weekend, even though we don’t have any updates here in Miami. The pace was there throughout the weekend.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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