The Brazilian Grand Prix certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth of Ferrari. It was a weekend of missed opportunity in Brazil, despite making small gains on Mercedes in the Championship.
Mercedes was on the defensive all weekend, partly due to poor set-up, but managed to limit the damage relative to Ferrari. An early hydraulics failure put Leclerc out of the race before it even began, leaving Sainz to limit the points loss to Mercedes:
“It’s frustrating, but that’s how things went,” commented Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari Team Principal.
Disappointment and frustration for Leclerc raise an alarm about reliability. Sainz contains the degradation and beats Mercedes
It was undoubtedly a two-faced race. One ended before it even started, and the other gave some small joy, but it does not erase the bitterness for what happened to the Monegasque.
Above all, it cannot be ignored how Red Bull and McLaren confirmed themselves significantly faster. Even a rejuvenated Aston Martin was comfortably ahead of the lone Scuderia car.
Attention was certainly paid to understanding what happened to Charles Leclerc. Without going into too much detail, Frederic Vasseur responded on the issue:
“The problem involves a control system that shuts down the hydraulics and engine. We don’t know the origin, but it is something linked more to the car’s electronic systems.
“Charles tried turning the engine off and on again, but there wasn’t much he could do. After leaving [the barriers], we told him it was better to stop.”
Vasseur explained this is a new issue for Ferrari, which they are still trying to diagnose. The result of the failure was a loss of power steering.
The mood of the Monegasque is clearly one of frustration, which is more than understandable:
“Like the whole team. We had prepared the weekend for this race, keeping a set of softs and studying the best strategy, also sacrificing the Sprint, and we weren’t even able to start. Frustrating, but from tomorrow, we need to focus on Las Vegas and make sure these problems don’t happen again.”
The main issue will concern the quality control of the components and the verification of wear, as well as ensuring that there has not been any further damage to hydraulic, electrical or Power Unit parts. The checks in Maranello will provide more answers, with decisions to be made ahead of Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.
Ferrari will be additionally frustrated because of the issues at Mercedes. George Russell was forced to retire, whilst Lewis Hamilton struggled in a clearly limited W14 machine.
“I don’t have a glass half-full, but the podium for Charles was possible, yes. He started from the front row. With a new set of Softs, he could stay in clean air… But talking about ifs and buts is bullshit, and we can’t do anything about it now.”
Vasseur also commented on Carlos Sainz’s afternoon in Interlagos:
“Our main problem in the race was the first stint when we remained in the traffic of the Mercedes and Stroll. Temperatures were under control.
“The deltas were so close that overtaking was too difficult, so we extended the stint on the Soft to have an advantage and managed to overtake the two Mercedes during the second stint on the Medium.”
Carlos Sainz’s race wasn’t problem-free either, as he complained a lot on the radio at the first start, asking to get rid of the clutch on his Ferrari SF-23 as soon as they returned to Maranello:
“The first one was a bad start, yes, but the second one was better. We need to understand the reason for these problems starting now.
“Regarding the problems with downshifting, it was a problem, but at the next corner, everything went back to normal.” Despite the disappointment, Frederic Vasseur outlined Ferrari’s consistent performance across different compounds. This hasn’t always been the case for the SF-23:
“I think that with the degradation, we were okay, and the car was consistent in the various stints. The first stint in traffic matters little, but in the second with the new Media and in the third with the used Soft, there was a correct performance difference.
“Unfortunately, the red flag and Charles’ problem did not allow us to carry out our strategy and start with new tires compared to our rivals.”
Vasseur: Las Vegas presents opportunity to try to close on Mercedes
What happened in Austin is still fresh in the memories of all Formula 1 fans. In recent days there has also been news of the request for review (Right of Review) from Haas,
The American team wants to flag the various infringements of track limits during the race. If their review is successful, it will likely result in penalties for Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Alexander Albon.
Nico Hulkenberg would benefit significantly. However, Vasseur was very honest on the issue: “I haven’t even read it and therefore I couldn’t say anything about it.”
Something that may interest him is what happened with the disqualification of Charles Leclerc for wearing on the floor.
As with Mercedes, questions were asked about any precautions Ferrari took before the race: “We will check on Carlos’s car, but we are sure we are in the safety zone.”
The past is the past. The next test will be in Vegas:
“It will be chaotic. It promises to be a race in very cold conditions. It won’t just be a night race. It will be a new circuit, unknown to everyone. It could be an opportunity, ” explained the Ferrari Team Principal.
The Frenchman still aims for his team to overtake that of his friend and now rival Toto Wolff:
“Here we have recovered a few more points on Mercedes, and Las Vegas could be an opportunity to recover others,”
There are more than a few doubts about the new American circuit, both on a sporting level due to the layout of the track and the problems that have arisen at an organizational and structural level.
Still, the Ferrari boss calls for calm and to be positive for the next race weekend:
“Let’s look at Miami last year. It went rather well, at least as far as the actions on the track are concerned. Let’s hope it’s the same for Las Vegas.”
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang