In a candid reflection on Ferrari’s 2023 F1 season, Team Principal Fred Vasseur acknowledged the team’s early struggles but praised their remarkable recovery and team spirit. Vasseur’s insights offer a unique perspective on Ferrari’s journey to a third-place finish in the Constructors’ Championship.
- Early Season Struggles: Ferrari, with drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, faced reliability issues early in the season, challenging their competition with Red Bull and jostling for position with Mercedes and Aston Martin.
- Mid-Season Recovery and Achievements: The team’s fortunes turned mid-season, highlighted by Leclerc’s qualifying prowess and Sainz’s victory at the Singapore Grand Prix, showcasing Ferrari’s resilience and capability.
- Internal Dialogue and Team Spirit: Vasseur emphasized the importance of continuous communication and team unity at Ferrari. Despite early disappointments, particularly with car reliability, the team’s proactive approach and collective spirit were key to their improvement.
The 2023 F1 season began with significant challenges for Ferrari, especially concerning their car’s reliability. This disadvantage initially set back drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, placing them in a tough spot against a dominant Red Bull team and closely contending with Mercedes and Aston Martin. However, as the season progressed, Ferrari’s SF-23 car started showing its true potential. Key moments like Leclerc’s exceptional qualifying performances and Sainz’s remarkable win in Singapore marked a significant shift in Ferrari’s season trajectory.
Discussing the team’s overall performance, Vasseur referred to Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna’s comment that ‘second is the first of the losers’, underscoring the rigorous internal dialogues at Ferrari. He openly expressed his own dissatisfaction with the early performance, especially the reliability issues, as quoted by RacingNews365:
“We didn’t wait for the end of the championship to discuss it but the advantage at Ferrari is that we have daily discussions, we are not far away. Nobody can be happy with what we did at the beginning of the season. We had too many issues with reliability and I was the first one upset with this – and performance.”
Despite these early setbacks, Vasseur highlighted the team’s commendable response to adversity. He took pride in the significant improvements seen later in the season, including multiple pole positions and competitive races against Max Verstappen.
“But I think, more than everything, that the reaction of the group, the reaction of the team, the fact we were able to… I am not a big fan of statistics, but we had something like five pole positions out of the last eight events, the fact we were able to fight with Max on some occasions during the races also was a good step forward. Even if we are not happy – and again, I am the first one, I do not need Mr Vigna or Mr Elkann telling me, I am not happy with P3, this is clear – but I am more than happy with the reaction of the team and I think this feeling is the same for everybody.”
Vasseur’s reflections not only highlight the technical and strategic challenges faced by Ferrari but also shed light on the team’s strong internal culture and determination. This narrative of resilience and teamwork offers a compelling story of Ferrari’s 2023 F1 season, embodying the spirit of high-level motorsport competition.