Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur hit back at the team’s reactive critics following a return to form at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix spearheaded by Charles Leclerc‘s podium and P2 in qualifying.
Ferrari had scored just 13 points in the two races before Spa, fuelling criticism that they were dropping out of the race for second in the constructors’ championship against the backdrop of McLaren‘s stunning resurgence.
But they were comfortably the fastest team behind Red Bull in Belgium and picked up 24 points from the weekend despite Carlos Sainz‘s controversial DNF on Sunday, renewing optimism entering Formula 1‘s summer break.
“I will stay very calm because we had the same meeting one week ago and we were at the end of the world, McLaren was flying and we were stupid,” Vasseur told the press.
“And so from one week to the other that McLaren is at the back today and we are at the front, bla bla bla.
“We have to stay calm, take it easy race after race but we know that the pack is so tight that for one or two tenths can move you from P2 to P11.”
Ferrari have a lot to do in second half of 2023
The story of the 2023 F1 season has been how great the year would’ve been if it wasn’t for Max Verstappen‘s dominance out front.
The Dutchman has been peerless in nearly every race, winning 10 grand prix and eight on the bounce in a streak that started at the Miami GP – Verstappen could equal Vettel‘s record win streak at his home race.
But behind, Aston Martin started off the leading team and Fernando Alonso scored three podiums in the first three races – and five in the first six.
Then Mercedes brought major upgrades to Monaco and looked best of the rest until McLaren shocked the field at Silverstone and confirmed their pace in Hungary.
Ferrari have regularly featured in the top five throughout 2023 but have never looked consistently like the true frontrunners behind Red Bull.
However, there’s hope that Spa could signal that ascension, and they enter the summer break less than 60 points behind Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.
“It’s not the end of the season,” Vassuer added. “We have a lot to do, but today it’s good to finish the first part of the season on a positive tone, we will have the two weeks off with a positive rise in mind.”
Where is the next F1 race?
F1 will return from its summer break with the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix from Zandvoort on August 25-27, where championship leader Max Verstappen will be racing on home soil.