Ferrari stay 'calm': Underperformance in Spain was track specific

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Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur acknowledged his team’s disappointing results in Barcelona last weekend, but urged his team to stay “calm” insisting its shortfall was track specific.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz qualified fifth and sixth on Saturday at the Circuit de Catalunya, over three tenths behind McLaren poleman Lando Norris, despite the pair being handed a sizeable upgrade package for their SF-24.

The performance inevitably fell short of the Scuderia’s expectations which had been boosted by Sainz setting the pace earlier in the day in final practice.

Sunday yielded the exact same result for the Italian outfit, with Leclerc and Sainz concluding their day P5 and P6 in the running order, but well adrift from the leading duo of Verstappen and Norris.

While acknowledging Ferrari’s underperformance in Spain, Vasseur emphasized once again the fierce competitive environment at the top of the field, where gaps are created by minor variations in such factors such as track layout, ambient temperatures, wind speed or tyre compounds.

But the Frenchman agreed that qualifying was an area where Ferrari needed to raise its game, for the sake of improving its drivers’ positions on the grid.

“I don’t remember exactly the order of the races, but from Shanghai you have four teams in two or three-tenths,” Vasseur explained.

“And this is changing, the order is changing because over the last four weekends we had four different teams doing the pole position. And we didn’t change massively the car.

“It means that it’s more related to the track layout, to the compound, to the temperature that you are in the window of plus or minus one or two-tenths.

“And as the group is mega close, at the end it’s making the order in qualification. And then on this kind of track that it’s quite difficult to overtake and you have almost the classification of the quali at the end of the race.

“I’m sure that if we are starting P3, P4, it’s the opposite in the classification at the end.

“And if we have to do a step, honestly, I think it’s much more on Saturday that we didn’t do the best than today.”

Vasseur foresees the gyrations among the front-runners continuing in the upcoming rounds.

“We were five-thousands off the Mercs yesterday,” he noted. “I think it’s a gust of wind or something like this.

“And they were 40 seconds behind us in Monaco two weeks ago. That means that before to draw any conclusion like this, that we have to stay calm.

“We have to take it event by event. And I think next week it will be a completely different format, different tarmac, different type of corners also. And we will have another picture.

“Probably the picture will be completely different, favourable to us or not, but the picture will be completely different next week.

“Now, nothing is forever in F1 today. I’m not sure that you can find over the last 10 years in F1 four consecutive events with four different guys in pole position and four different teams.

“It means that it’s not crystal clear that one [team] is better than the other one or better than the sub one.”


Given Ferrari’s dominant performance last month on such a specific track such as Monaco and its shortfall in Barcelona – a venue labeled as a more traditional circuit – many might point to an underlying problem for the SF-24. But Vasseur dismissed such a concern.

“If we are winning in Singapore, Baku, Monaco and so on, it is not that bad,” he said.

“Yes, but on the other hand, I think we were a couple of times on the first four also.

“I am not sure that you can say today that there is a clear order into the grid. We will see next week.

“Perhaps next week, you are right that it is clear now that the order is like this. But it will be like this also until the next upgrade or next modification.

“Or even next week you will have a low-speed corner and the week after we are in Silverstone.

“I think there is much more in the characteristics of the car fitting with the high-speed corner or with the components than on the pure potential when you have four teams in two-tenths.”

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