Vasseur: A step in the right direction, but we need confirmation

Ferrari Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur
Ferrari Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur

The Canadian Grand Prix saw Max Verstappen and the Red Bull RB19 triumph again. However, they were not the only team who left Montreal with positive data.

Ferrari found some much-needed pace and consistency in race trim, though it should be noted that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a more favourable track for the SF-23.

As such, the Canadian GP only showed indications of the progression the Maranello squad is hoping for. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz crossed the line in 4th and 5th, with Team Principal Frederic Vasseur taking place in his typical post-weekend press conference:

Can we say that Ferrari has taken a step in the right direction?

“We don’t have to draw conclusions after a race. Montreal is a different track than Spain, where curbs are used a lot, and the track is green. But I think we’ve taken the right direction. However, we need to prove it on other tracks as well; the first will be Austria”.

Could the race have been different with a better starting position?

“I don’t want to talk to ifs. We will have to talk about what happened yesterday [on Saturday] and discuss it to resolve it. With if everyone would be champions”.

Did you have any doubts about not stopping your drivers when the Safety Car came out?

“You always have hesitations, but both riders told us the pace would be very good once we get out of the traffic. We had potential in the open air, and the best thing was not to stop, the best way to make up positions.”

CanadianGP, Ferrari, Laurent Mekies, Charles Leclerc & Frederic Vasseur
CanadianGP, Charles Leclerc at the Ferrari wall with Laurent Mekies & Frederic Vasseur, after the elimination in Q2.

Leclerc was very angry after qualifying. He talked about mistakes and that we could have done better, do you agree with him?

“Of course, you can always do better, but it’s also true that the situation you have 10 seconds after qualifying isn’t always the best. 

“We spoke to him after he spoke to you, and we explained the situation to him, and he was calmer and understood.

“His confusion came from the fact that he didn’t have a clear overview. We need to improve in the areas where we can make the rider better understand the situation.

“The pace was excellent yesterday, and we finished tenth and eleventh, so we can’t be happy with Saturday.”

How do you judge your pace in reference to Aston Martin and Mercedes?

“The situation wasn’t the same at the beginning of the race, but we did the final stint with the same strategy as Alonso, more or less the same laps, and the difference was more or less one second over 30 laps.

“Some can say that Max didn’t give 100%. Comparing ourselves to 2-3 races ago, we finished within 10 seconds, which is the time we lost after the first laps.”

Going back to yesterday and the discussion with Leclerc, is there a communication problem between you?

“He was very clear on the radio, but it wasn’t the right decision because the rain was coming and we had to set a time. If you go in and need two laps to warm up the tires and therefore delay your time by 5 minutes, you are not safe. That wasn’t the plan.”

Did you understand why the SF-23, unlike Barcelona, ​​was more consistent in the race here?

“We don’t know yet, but we are developing the car in this direction, namely to be more consistent and easier to drive. However, we don’t draw conclusions after a race. We are waiting for Austria and Silverstone”.

How critical will Austria be?

“It’s hard to know, I don’t know what the others will do. The performance also depends on developments and work on the setup, but we have to focus on ourselves. I think we still have a lot of room for improvement.”

CanadianGP, Ferrari SF-23
Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz during the race in Canada.

What happened to Leclerc before departure? There seemed to be a bit of a panic on the grid.

“Don’t panic. We had to ask the FIA ​​to be able to change the plank (a macro starts under the bottom). Charles had a hard ride on the kerbs in the formation lap, but the FIA ​​gave the ok, and we changed him without problems.”

After optimizing your setup, would you be better off in Barcelona now?

“Everything was very strange in Barcelona. If you look at Charles’ race: the first stint on Hard was a disaster, the last, also on Hard, was good. We were less far than what the rankings say. We are trying to find a solution to be consistent. The race result wasn’t good, but we weren’t that far away.”

There have been several radio messages to Charles regarding Sainz: so the two pilots will not be able to fight. Or was it a choice dictated by the conditions?

“No, we didn’t want to protect one or the other. At that moment, we needed to push to take a gap on Ocon, and the others behind, as well as stay close to those in front. Fighting would have been stupid, and we would have lost time with both cars.”

So it was just for the situation, can pilots fight each other?

“Fighting is a great word. They are free to race, but in this case, it meant penalizing both cars.”

Do you have any complaints about Esteban Ocon’s rear wing?

“Oh, I already have a lot to think about my car. I don’t know what happened in Renault, so I can’t give my thoughts.”

Aston Martin has brought a big package of updates here, and Mercedes will bring something, Silverstone. What is the plan for Ferrari developments?

“We take the same approach. We will bring something to Austria and develop the car step by step. I am not a fan of big packages but of continuous development and, above all, in the same direction.”

Authors: Paolo D’Alessandro & Giuliano Duchess

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang