Frédéric Vasseur says the recent updates brought by Scuderia Ferrari’s SF-23 have helped the team in Qualifying trim, but come race day, there is still plenty to do to be competitive.
Carlos Sainz Jr. qualified on the front row at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday, but once the race got underway, it was not so easy for the Spaniard, who ultimately lost positions to both Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers and Oracle Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez.
Vasseur, the Team Principal at Ferrari, says it was clear on Sunday that both Red Bull and Mercedes were quicker than they were, although the team were hindered more by its lack of consistency rather than its outright performance levels.
“We made a step forward this weekend in terms of our qualifying pace, with Carlos on the front row after the best Saturday of his season so far,” said Vasseur. “However it is clear that, in terms of race pace, Red Bull and Mercedes are quicker than us.
“As for the upgrades, I think we have made a step forward overall if you compare this weekend with Miami. Clearly, we know it is still not enough. Our problem is not our outright performance, it is our lack of consistency.”
Proof of the lack of consistency in Spain was the performance of Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque racer failing to score points having started from the pit lane following a raft of changes to his SF-23 overnight after being eliminated in Q1 on Saturday.
Vasseur says they need to assess the fact that Leclerc struggled on his first set of hard compound tyres but was happy with the balance on a different set later in the race, but right now they are in need to find a significant amount of time on Sundays to challenge at the front.
“Charles’ first set of Hards was a sort of a nightmare but then on his last set of the same compound he was happy with the balance: we must assess this inconsistency,” Vasseur added. “Now we will focus completely on this issue before Canada.
“For sure we will continue to develop the car but this is a matter of improving by tenths of a second, whereas in the race we are looking for seconds at the moment. There is something in the car that we must unlock if we want to move forward.”