Vasseur: Red Bull not in the comfort zone anymore

Vasseur: Red Bull not in the comfort zone anymore

Vasseur: Red Bull not in the comfort zone anymore

Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur claimed races like the 2024 Miami Grand Prix show that Red Bull racing are no longer in the comfort zone they enjoyed in the last couple of seasons.

Red Bull did not enjoy a performance advantage during last weekend’s Miami GP, to the extent that Max Verstappen could not catch and pass Lando Norris after the Safety Car restart, the latter going on to take his maiden Formula 1 win.

As a reminder, McLaren delayed Norris’ pitstop and benefitted from the Safety Car that was sent out to clear the crash caused by Kevin Magnussen who took out Williams’ Logan Sargeant. That meant Norris took the lead from Verstappen who, even before that, wasn’t able to pull a big gap over his chasers after starting from pole.

That situation was a total contrast to 2023, when the Dutchman started the Miami GP from ninth and went on to win the race.

Ferrari managed to sneak a podium in Miami with Leclerc third behind Norris and Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz was the first to deny Red Bull a win in 2024 when he triumphed in Melbourne after Verstappen retired with a faulty brake.

Facing the media, Fred Vasseur was asked whether what happened in Miami would become a trend for 2024, he said: “I think it’s almost like this since the beginning of the season, depending on the track.

Red Bull are still ahead, but…

“I think honestly that Red Bull is still ahead. Probably Max [Verstappen] could have won today without the story of the safety car. I don’t want to draw any conclusion on this, but they did the pole position, it means they have still a small advantage.

“What is true is that compared to one year ago, when we are able to do a good job and to put everything together, we are there. It means we are putting them a little bit under pressure, they have to be a bit more aggressive with the strategy, they are not anymore in the comfort zone of last year where it doesn’t matter what happens, after lap 2 they were in front,” the Frenchman explained.

Ferrari have improved from 2023 to 2024, and under Vasseur’s leadership seem to have become better operators in terms of strategy and race management, while their SF-24 is clearly a better car, more kind to its tyres compared to its predecessor.

Vasseur sees that as an opportunity that, combined with some upgrades, would help Ferrari pressure Red Bull even more.

“I think it’s a game-changer in the management of the race,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us, because if we are doing another small step, I think that we will be really in a position to fight with them every single weekend.”

Ferrari are yet to bring any major upgrades to their car, but are planning a package for the upcoming race at Imola.

On Friday, Ferrari conducted a filming day at their Fiorano track, giving their upgrades a test run over 200km before their actual debut at Imola.

(Quotes by Agnes Carlier)