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Vasseur: Smooth Australia weekend the path Ferrari F1 team must follow

Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Fred Vasseur says that the Australian GP showed the value of a “smooth weekend” for the Italian outfit.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, 1st position, arrives in Parc Ferme

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The team faced no disruptions or setbacks over the course of the Melbourne event, which saw Carlos Sainz lead team-mate Charles Leclerc home in a one-two finish.

Sainz was helped by a brake issue that caused the early retirement of Max Verstappen. However, many observers believed that Ferrari would have been in the fight for victory on pure performance.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez could manage only a distant fifth place, having started from sixth on the grid.

“Nobody knows and nobody will know,” said Vasseur when asked after the race if Sainz could have beaten Verstappen on merit. “But if you compare with the pace of Checo [Perez] you could imagine that would have been possible.

“Sometimes the gap between Max and Checo is big. But you have to appreciate the moment, that I think we did not only a good race, but a strong weekend from the beginning.

“And it's probably from Friday also that we build up the win of today. But it's also showing that when you are doing a smooth weekend from FP1 from the first lap without any issue, we are much better.

“And it will be not the conclusion, but the path that we have to follow for the next months.”

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

Vasseur suggested that the team has been gaining momentum and experiencing fewer problems on race weekends since the latter part of 2023. That, in turn, has helped to put more pressure on rivals Red Bull.

“Confidence is a huge part of the result in all business,” he said. “And I think we are building up the confidence over the last month, and it was really the case in the last part of the season last year.

“And this weekend, I think it's good dividends that when we are putting everything together – and I'm not sure that we'll be able to do it every single weekend, but when we are putting everything together, we can put [Red Bull] a little bit under pressure.

“And it's when they are under pressure that they will do also more mistakes. It means that we have to continue in this direction.

“We are much, much more confident on the fact that we can manage this kind of event, because from lap one day one we were there, we are performant, and it was quite smooth. And it's in this situation that we are doing the best car for ourselves for Sunday.”

Vasseur stressed that not making mistakes or facing setbacks is a key to success: “When you have small issues or reliability issues or not a clean weekend, you are losing time.

“And when you're in front of Red Bull, you can't lose one lap. And I think it's from the beginning of the season we have a very consistent sessions from FP1 to the quali.

“We were a bit disappointed after the [Melbourne] quali, because we have the feeling that we could have done a better job.

“But considering that the race was more based on the tyre management and tyre deg it was not a drama. And today was a good example.”

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