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Vasseur confident Ferrari has fast pace to challenge Red Bull Sport-rated




Fred Vasseur says the qualifying pace shown by Ferrari at the Bahrain Grand Prix shows that his team has the raw performance to battle Red Bull this season.

Charles Leclerc split the two Red Bulls and was just 0.1sec off Max Verstappen’s time in the first race in Q3, but opted not to make a second attempt to save a set of tires for the race. That meant he started third and, although he regained second place for the opening stage, Leclerc faded to a distant P3 before a power unit issue forced him to retire. However, team principal Vasseur saw encouraging signs in terms of outright pace.

“Of course it’s a shame not to finish first, but before drawing any conclusions, we need to understand exactly what happened,” Vasseur said. “In general, I would say that the image is not what was expected before the race. To summarize the situation, I would say that in terms of qualifying pace, we are there: we are matching Red Bull in the test in Bahrain, it was a positive point.

“But now that we have to be completely realistic, if we want to improve, we need to have a clear picture of the situation and unreliability is not a variable that we need. If we want to win races, we need to have a clean sheet at the weekend and not small details there and there.

Vasseur says there need not be major changes to the Ferrari in order to find better race performance, and insists that the fact that it can match Red Bull in qualifying should translate into long race pace with tweaks to the race. setting.

“Yes, I am completely convinced of this (the potential of the car), to match the pace of Red Bull and to be able to compete, then it is a question of configuration and some options on the car, but it is not a question of concept. all. So we don’t have to go in this direction.”

Given the strong start Ferrari made to 2022 but then faded from title contention, Vasseur says he is reminding the team that the season is not defined by the opening race.

“It is never good to start with a DNF and I would have preferred to finish safe. But I want to be consistent in my position. I told the team before the test in Bahrain two weeks ago that the championship will not end in Bahrain. The result does not matter in any case. It was true for the winter test and it is true for (the first race) that the team experienced a different situation in the past.

“The most important thing now is to be able to have a clear picture of the situation in which we are failing and to do a proper analysis on this and carry out a stronger response.”