Ferrari Unconcerned by Red Bull’s Pace in F1 Tests
Ferrari’s team director, Fred Vasseur, is not concerned about Red Bull’s impressive pace during the F1 pre-season test in Bahrain.
Vasseur believes that testing times can be misleading and that Ferrari focused on evaluating settings rather than chasing headline times.
There is no reason to be alarmed by Red Bull’s impressive pace during the F1 tests, according to Ferrari.
Ferrari team director, Fred Vasseur, sees no reason for his team to be disappointed by their Formula 1 rival, Red Bull’s impressive testing form in Bahrain this week.
Red Bull emerged from the F1 pre-season test in Sakhir widely regarded as the team to beat, with the RB19 appearing highly reliable and fast on both short and long runs.
However, while Red Bull’s pace seemed to be bad news for Ferrari, who are aiming to compete for championship glory this year, Vasseur seems far from alarmed by what he has seen on track so far.
He is categorical that Ferrari’s focus during the test was not on chasing headline times, as they instead concentrated a significant portion of their time on evaluating settings.
Furthermore, Vasseur believes that testing times can be particularly misleading in Bahrain, as the late running of the race weekend compared to testing means that the order of competition is likely to be very different when the competition starts.
ue nous avons effectué”, a déclaré Vasseur à certains médias, dont Motorsport.com, à propos de son résumé du test.
“Overall, I think we can be pleased with the test that we have conducted,” Vasseur said to some media outlets, including Motorsport.com, in his summary of the test.
Vasseur explained that although the car’s performance seemed satisfactory, they were unaware of the fuel level of other teams.
He added that scanning every setting on the car was crucial since the track characteristics during testing were distinct from the following week’s race.
Vasseur pointed out that he could not recall the team that set the fastest lap in Bahrain last year and two years ago, but none of them started the race in pole position.
When asked if Red Bull’s pace had worried Ferrari, Vasseur responded, “What is true is that on a per lap pace, you’re not able to judge because you don’t know if they are running with 20/30/50 kilos, and they don’t know if we are at 20/30/50kg. That means it is very difficult to make any comparison.”
“The only thing you can judge is when you do a race simulation. Because you know that if you don’t stop the car and you do 55 laps, that means you started with 110kg. That’s the only [thing you know for sure],” Vasseur concluded.
“On our side, we have made different attempts, with different fuel levels. Some solutions worked, some a little less. We need to make the most of it and do a proper analysis,” Vasseur said.
Vasseur concluded by saying that the race next week would be a different story, even between the start and end of the race.
He added that the track temperature in Bahrain was very low towards the end of the race, which would create a different picture from what they observed during the test.
While some of Ferrari’s race attempts did not appear competitive, Vasseur said there were moments when the team tried different configurations that were clearly not right. He remains firmly convinced that Ferrari did what they wanted in the test, and any obsession over what Red Bull was doing would only harm their own chances.
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Vasseur stated that the team did not approach the test with the sole intention of gauging their performance. According to him, if they only focused on that, it would be a fatal mistake as they would react and work based solely on the timesheet.
“The most important thing is to tick the boxes that you need to tick, and honestly, on that, we did a good job,” Vasseur added.
“You only have three days to scan all the car setting options and development items. And when we put everything together, the best looks good,” Vasseur concluded.
In addition to Ferrari’s lap times appearing slightly adrift from Red Bull, its drivers did not give too much praise to the new SF-23.
Charles Leclerc felt that efforts to improve aerodynamic efficiency had paid off by improving straight-line speed, but he sensed that there had been consequences with the car not being as strong in the corners.
While this seems to suggest that progress has not been as significant as hoped, Vasseur said it was important to understand the mentality of drivers who always want more.
“If they were happy, it could be a professional mistake,” he explained. “The DNA of my company is always to try to get more and do more.”
“If they are completely satisfied with the balance, except in qualifying where you have a ranking, it means that in testing they are not pushing hard enough,” Vasseur added.
Vasseur concluded by saying, “It is certain that they ask for more; they ask for more overall grip. But that is the company’s mentality. In the end, we have covered a wide range of items, and when we put everything together at the end of the three days, I can see that the performance is there.”
Vasseur added that it’s quite challenging to have a clear understanding of other teams’ engine mode and fuel level, making it difficult to have a complete picture.
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