Formula 1’s visit to Spa was important not only because of the racing but also for the off-track technical and political discussions. As known, an F1 Commission was held with the aim of regulating the near future of F1 – including discussions on tyre warmers for 2024, regulations regarding Power Units and Cost Caps and many issues of this kind that would have required votes and/or discussions for exchanges of regulation.
Frederic Vasseur also covered this topic in his post-race press conference in Belgium, outlining very clear ideas.
One of the main headlines from Spa was definitely Alpine, on and off the track. Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, isolating themselves from everything that happens at the management level, with a good job of executing the team on the track, have secured good results.
Frederic Vasseur did not want to go into the discussions about the changes that are taking place in one of his former teams but instead answered questions about the F1 Commission, where there was talk of a request made by Alpine.
“On the Power Units, it is true that when we decided to freeze the engines, it was said that in exceptional cases, if there was a big difference, a solution would be found to help those in difficulty, but I don’t think Renault is that far away.
“We don’t have the same numbers they claim. It is the first time that my engineers are pessimistic towards others. It’s the same situation as in the wind tunnel: those who are further back have more time to develop.
“What we want to do is give those who are behind the opportunity to develop, not introduce a sort of Balance of Performance. “
Another topic of debate is the budget or cost cap. The expense ceiling was recently introduced, and according to Vasseur, it is important not to change the rules too much and not end up satisfying every request. Otherwise, the sense for which the financial regulation was born in F1 will be lost.
“On the expense ceiling, it’s a bit different, from my point of view. We have rules, and we have changed them several times. For me, the important thing is stability, and if we start changing every week because someone wants to invest in something, that’s the end of stability.
“Today, it is Williams who would like to invest in a new ERP system. Tomorrow it will be someone else that he wants a new simulator, and so on. The Coast Cup is a big step in cost, performance levelling, and revenue for the teams, and we have gone in that direction. So either we are supportive, or it’s the end of this solution.”
Among the topics touched upon by Vasseur, however, it did not escape the journalists how the Ferrari team principal spoke of P2-P11, thus assuming that Verstappen and Red Bull were almost guaranteed to win secure first place.
“Yes, I said between P2 and down. It is difficult to divide drivers and cars because the drivers contribute to the development of the car. But when you see the results, you see that there is a big difference between them, but this is not our main problem.”
The first part of the season has been not-so-short domination for Max Verstappen. Good for F1? Something to stop? Or a warning to the other teams?
“We just have to do a better job ourselves. Max and Red Bull are doing a fantastic job. We have to do better. We can’t tell them anything.”
The first part of the season therefore ended with a podium for Ferrari (and a retirement, confirming the lack of optimal execution of a weekend for the Maranello team), a lot of work done and just as much, but even more, to do for Vasseur.
The results were lower than expected, but on the track and behind the scenes, the strengthening work has begun and cannot stop.
“When you do my job, you don’t have to imagine the perfect structure. We always have to improve and change things because that’s what others do. I have a very clear idea, and stopping us would be stupid.
“We are making changes, and there will be more changes in the coming weeks, months and years. It’s a matter of constant improvement.”
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang