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Vasseur: "More aggressive" mentality the biggest Ferrari improvement in F1 2023

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur thinks his Formula 1 team's more aggressive approach has yielded the biggest gains during his first season in Maranello.

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

Vasseur arrived at Ferrari last winter to replace Mattia Binotto and while he arrived too late to have a significant effect on the 2023 car project, his reorganisation efforts did start showing promise across the second half of 2023.

While the team struggled to make big upgrades to its SF-23, partly due to chassis limitations, Vasseur says he instilled a more risk-oriented and aggressive approach at Maranello, which had a reputation for having a systemic fear of failure.

PLUS: How Ferrari responded to a 2023 reality check

The Frenchman felt that attitude yielded more lap time than the upgrades themselves.

"When you arrive in this group, you need to understand how the group is working before taking any action or decision," Vasseur said. 

"The main topic for us and the biggest improvement we did the season was more on the approach and the mentality. I think that we took more risk, we were a bit more aggressive and this played a part.

"We have to be ambitious and not be scared of any incident or something like this, and I think we did a step on this."

The Ferrari team on the pit wall

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The Ferrari team on the pit wall

According to Vasseur, those gains had a big impact because of how tight the grid was in 2023, meaning a few tenths could mean a world of difference as Ferrari narrowly lost out to Mercedes in the fight for second in the constructors' championship.

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"When we said that we were in a tough situation at the beginning, we were probably two or three tenths off," he explained. "We made a step of one or two tenths. Now the grid is so compact and so tight that for one or two tenths you can change completely the physiognomy of the weekend.

"We brought an upgrade in Japan, but it was not a big one. I'm still convinced that it's more on the track operation that we did the step in the last third of the season, much more than on the development of the car.

"In the last part of the season we were much more aggressive. And it's a matter of tenths. You make up 0.020s here and 0.020s there and at the end, it's one tenth."

 Additional reporting by Roberto Chinchero

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