VASSEUR Frédéric (fra), Team Principal & General Manager of the Scuderia Ferrari, portrait during the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024, 1st round of the 2024 FIA Formula One World Championship from February 29 to March 2, 2024 on the Bahrain International Circuit, in Sakhir, Bahrain - Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Vasseur: We expect to be front runners at Albert Park

VASSEUR Frédéric (fra), Team Principal & General Manager of the Scuderia Ferrari, portrait during the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024, 1st round of the 2024 FIA Formula One World Championship from February 29 to March 2, 2024 on the Bahrain International Circuit, in Sakhir, Vasseur: We expect to be front runners at Albert Park - Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Ferrari F1 team boss Fred Vasseur is bullish ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, expecting the Reds to be at the sharp end of proceedings.

Quoted in the Ferrari preview of Round 3 of the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship in Melbourne, Vasseur said: “After a busy start to the season with back-to-back races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, we’ve now made the longest trip of the year to Australia. The Albert Park track is a favourite with the drivers and one where Ferrari has always enjoyed a lot of support.

“We expect to be front runners on this track which could produce a similar pecking order to the one seen in Jeddah. We intend to adopt an aggressive approach with the aim of putting pressure on the team that’s won the first two races,” declared Vasseur.

That’s a war cry from the Scuderia’s capo and music to Tifosi ears, Ferrari fans used to ‘winning the F1 Pre-Season Testing Championship‘ but then not delivering when it matters during the season.

While Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led home teammate Sergio Perez in both the 2024 F1 season opener in Bahrain and again a week later in Saudi Arabia, Ferrari was best of the rest. At Albert Park the intent is to go one better, it appears.

Sainz back for Ferrari in Melbourne, Bearman returns to Formula 2

Sainz-Jeddah-2024

Carlos Sainz finished P3 in Bahrain but a week later appendicitis struck. The Spaniard had to undergo surgery which kept him out of the race, after he spent an uncomfortable Friday in the car, gamely trying to defy the odds and race.

This triggered a change of plans for Oliver Bearman. The 18-year-old made history to become the Scuderia’s youngest-ever driver and P7 was a fine way to announce his arrival on the biggest stage.

But this weekend, for now, the F1 fairytale is over for Bearman who will be back in Formula 2 Down Under and Sainz will be back in the car, sharing a garage with Charles Leclerc again.

The Italian team confirmed: “Carlos Sainz is expected to be back in the car, having had to miss Jeddah with appendicitis. He and teammate Charles Leclerc will most likely be fighting at the front of the field, as they have done in the first two rounds.”

The Monegasque had a solid race in Jeddah to finish P3, albeit nearly 20 seconds adrift of winner Verstappen and five seconds behind Perez in P2. Ferrari lie second in the 2024 F1 Constructors’ standings ahead of Round 3 in Melbourne on Sunday.

Big Question: Can Ferrari beat Red Bull in Melbourne? How so?