Former Ferrari race engineer identifies Scuderia’s big ‘problem’


Former Ferrari race engineer Luca Baldisseri knows a few things about winning a F1 world championship, having guided the efforts of Michael Schumacher to multiple world crowns.

The Italian also led alongside Ross Brawn Ferrari’s race strategy before moving on to a more relaxing role as the manager of the Ferrari Driver Academy, a role he held until 2015.

Baldisseri, who now works for the Formula Renault Eurocup team’s Global Racing Service, is still a strong supporter of his former team.

But in an interview with famed Italian F1 blogger Leo Turrini, Baldisseri suggested that the biggest thorn in the side of the Scuderia is not Red Bull but the team’s star driver, three-time world champion Max Verstappen.

“I’m the guy for Vasseur, for Leclerc, for Sainz, and for everyone who works within the racing department,” Baldisseri said, FormulaPassion.

“But they have a problem. And this problem has a first and last name: Max Verstappen.”

In his banner 2023 year, Verstappen conceded only three defeats as he powered his way onto his third consecutive world championship, the Dutchman winning 19 races and losing out to Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez twice and to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz only once, in Singapore.

Former Ferrari race engineer Luca Baldisseri at Sakhir in 2009.

“Every generation has its symbol,” Baldisseri added. [Ayrton] Senna, Schumi, [Lewis] Hamilton. Now it is the Dutchman’s turn.

“He is in the cockpit of the fastest car, but he is also the best. Driven by [Sergio] Perez, the Red Bull is less stratospheric. There is an additional difference determined by the driving.

“Like Schumi’s Ferrari when he was at the top: only Michael knew how to make it irresistible.”

Assessing Ferrari’s performance relative to Red Bull, Baldisseri reckons that the Scuderia’s SF-23 charger wasn’t far off Red Bull’s dominant RB19. He explained the methodology that leads him to such a conclusion.

“When I analyse a single seater, I always do it by looking at the performance of the second driver,” he said.

“And in that sense, it is even clearer that Ferrari’s performance was not much less than that of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull. The other car was further ahead because it was driven by an alien.

“Also because the rules remain stable, which should help us get further there. To know exactly what is needed, we really need to work in the team.

“However, it is one thing to catch up with Red Bull, another, slightly more difficult thing is to catch up with Red Bull and Verstappen.”

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