Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur insisted they will take the fight to Mercedes in the 2023 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship, despite the focus now shifting to 2024.
With six grands prix remaining in the 2023 F1 season, Ferrari are 20 points behind Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship as both teams are trying to secure the second place in the Championship after Red Bull secured the Title at the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend.
But as the season went past its halfway mark, the teams have now shifted their focus towards developing their 2024 F1 challengers, but according to Vasseur, that shouldn’t mean Ferrari continue their fight with Mercedes for second in the Constructors’ Standigs.
“You don’t have to postpone the fight, the fight is with Mercedes today, and we have to take it,” Vasseur said. “It’s always the best way to prepare for the future, for the mindset of the team, for everybody to be into the fight is crucial. And we’ll keep this fight until the end of the season.”
“It’s never a sacrifice, because I think that performance is coming from performance. It’s too late to go into the wind tunnel for this season, but what we can do on the current car will help us for next year,” he maintained.
Vasseur claimed Ferrari had better tyre degradation at Suzuka, where Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished fourth and sixth respectively, and was asked if that was due to the new floor the SF-23 had.
Improved tyre degradation not related to latest upgrades
“What you can bring on the car is a matter of potential. The deg is another story, and we don’t have to mix everything,” the Frenchman explained.
“But for sure, potential is always helpful. And for less than a tenth we would have been on the first row, and then it’s a different story, you have clean air and so on.
“Sometimes small details are making, at the end of the race, a mega huge difference because when you are in the fight you have to copy the others. It’s a different story.
“But I think it will be like this until the end of the season,” he added. “We made the pole position in Monza for one hundredth, last week in Singapore for five hundredths, something like this, [in Japan] we lost the first row for five hundredths, and it will be a matter of hundredths for the rest of the season.”
The Ferrari boss insists Ferrari’s good form was not only down to upgrades, as they have shown good form even before that; he warned: “We have also to avoid drawing too quick conclusions.
“Before the break, in Spa, we were also in good shape, but Charles [Leclerc] started fourth. He was theoretically on the first row, but he started from pole position and did a good race.
“As it’s a matter of hundredths of seconds, sometimes you do a small step, you have the feeling that everything is changed.
“It’s not exactly the reality and from race-to-race, and from track-to-track. Even the drivers, sometimes the set-up is more fitting with Carlos or Charles.
“It’s sport, in the end, you can accept that one is doing a better job than the others from weekend to weekend. And I think that we have a positive competition, and this is also helping us to improve,” Vasseur concluded.
Big Question: Can Ferrari beat Mercedes to second place in the 2023 F1 Constructors’ Championship?