Vasseur: Ferrari must focus on maximising own potential

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Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur says it is important to keep the focus on improving their own potential and not get distracted about how their rivals are doing as they prepare for the next race in Baku.

Ferrari came into the new season hopeful of mounting a full title challenge in 2023, but so far it's got off to a somewhat stuttering and disappointing start.

After three races, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have yet to finish on the podium with their best result being fourth for Sainz in the season opener at Bahrain.

But Leclerc has suffered two retirements and was just seventh in Saudi Arabia, meaning he's currently tenth in the drivers standings on just six points - compared to 69 for Red Bull title rival Max Verstappen.

But Vasseur - who took over as boss over the winter after the departure of Mattia Binotto - is determined not to worry too much about what their rivals are doing, and concentrate on what they can do to maximise their own performance

“To be focused on Red Bull or Mercedes or Aston Martin, I think it would be a mistake,” he said. “We have to get the best from what we are doing, and be focused on ourselves."

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23 retired from the race. 02.04.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

Despite neither driver finishing in the points in Melbourne - Leclerc crashed out on the opening lap, and Sainz was hit by a costly post-race penalty for colliding with Fernando Alonso - Vasseur felt their form had been better.

"We made a good step for me between race two and race three," Vasseur insisted. “I think we took the right direction in Melbourne, and we have to confirm it next race.

"I think the issue in Melbourne was not the potential of the car, it was more the job that we did as a team to extract the best from [the latest upgrades].

"We have to be focused on this," he said. "We have to be able as a team to do a better job and to extract the best potential of the car," adding: “And if we're able to bring a couple of updates like this..."

Vasseur was tight-lipped about the details of the changes made for Melbourne, and wouldn't be drawn on what the team had in mind for Baku.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75. 10.06.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit, Azerbaijan

"I will never say what we did on the car and what was the impact on the behaviour of the car,” he stated. “But for sure we are looking for something a bit more consistent, and I think that we achieved it.

“I want to have the confirmation in Baku that we're in a different situation," he added. "But most important is to get the best from what we are doing, and to be focused on ourselves not on the others.”

Vasseur suggested that the new sprint race weekend format being introduced for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix provided Ferrari with an opportunity to get back on track.

“Baku will be crucial, because in Baku you have the two qualifyings and the two races," he explained. "[And] the layout of the track in Baku is completely different.

"Baku very often is an extreme track because it's windy, and between the buildings the wind is changing completely direction from corner to corner," he commented. "It will be a good exercise for everybody."

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