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Ferrari's Bold Suzuka Ambitions Clash with Red Bull's Dominance

Ferrari’s Bold Suzuka Ambitions Clash with Red Bull’s Dominance

04/04/2024

Following a victory at the Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari sets its sights on Suzuka, challenging Red Bull’s dominance with renewed optimism and strategic upgrades.

The Japanese track seems tailored to the strengths of the Red Bull RB20, but the Scuderia is not approaching this weekend with the mindset that they will necessarily finish 2nd behind their rival.

Ferrari’s team principal, Fred Vasseur, has expressed optimism about his ability to close the gap with the leaders.

“We’ve made a significant step forward this year, and we hope to be able to fight with Red Bull and Max until the end.”

“Melbourne was our best race, and we were not far behind the Red Bulls. The gaps are very small now. Everyone is very equal.”

“It’s a great feeling to arrive in a country knowing you can win the race. We didn’t do so well here last year, but in these kinds of corners, the fast corners, we’ve become better than last year.”

“We are talking about gaps of only one or two tenths per lap now. That means everything is open, even though I’m convinced that Red Bull will be very strong here.”

As for whether he can maintain his high level of performance this weekend in Japan, Carlos Sainz believes the race could potentially be more challenging for Ferrari.

“We’ll see. I think it’s important, as I’ve always said in the past, to move on quickly, in both good and bad times. Obviously, coming off a good Grand Prix, it’s harder to move on because you want to continue enjoying the moment, but I turned the page on Monday.”

“I started focusing on my training to be back in as good shape as possible for Japan, also because it will be a more difficult track for us. Last year, it was one of our toughest in terms of the gap to Red Bull – we were, I think, seven or eight tenths behind, about four or five months ago here.”

“But Fred is much more confident! So, it’s time to see where we stand this year and see if we can be at least closer and enjoy this incredible track a bit more because for me, it’s one of my favorites, if not my favorite.”

Why is he a bit more pessimistic than his boss? Sainz refers to the upgrades arriving in Suzuka on the RB20 while the SF-24 will only have a minor improvement in the rear suspension.

“I think it’s fair to say that in Australia, we looked very strong, but I think normally in these cases, you have to average the first three races. And the average is that we are still a few tenths off Red Bull and we probably need an upgrade, especially on tracks like Suzuka to beat them.”

“The work the team has done this year is extremely good because the car is a significant step forward. It’s just that we need even more, you know, if we want to win races on tracks like Japan. There’s no major evolution for us here. We have, I think, a very small thing in the car, at the back (in terms of suspension). But that will come later in the season. And I hope it’s another step in the same direction.”

Ferrari’s Bold Suzuka Ambitions Clash with Red Bull’s Dominance. Ferrari’s Bold Suzuka Ambitions Clash with Red Bull’s Dominance

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