Vasseur vows to understand ‘every single mistake’ Ferrari made as he targets title | 2023 F1 season


Ferrari’s new team principal Frederic Vasseur says the team has everything it needs to win the world championship in his first year in charge.

The new man leading Formula 1’s most famous team has begun a review of its operations considering the problems which undermined its 2022 campaign.

Ferrari won two of the first three races last season under Vasseur’s predecessor, Mattia Binotto, raising hopes it would deliver world championship success for the first time since 2008. But a combination of poor reliability, a slowing development rate plus strategic and operational errors by the team allowed rivals Red Bull and Max Verstappen to take dominant wins in the two championships.

Within a week of the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari approached the then-Alfa Romeo team principal to take over from Binotto. Vasseur duly joined the Scuderia on January 9th.

Tactical errors dogged Ferrari’s 2022 campaign

Speaking to selected media including RaceFans yesterday, for the first time since taking charge at Ferrari, Vasseur said progress towards addressing the problems which undermined its 2022 campaign was already being made.

“I joined a bit more than two weeks ago and as you can imagine on some topics, it’s a very long process,” he explained. “I’m speaking mainly about the engine. I think and I hope that it’s under control today, that they did a good job over the last couple of months and this is one part of the equation.”

Ferrari brought no new parts to last year’s car after the Japanese Grand Prix as they reached the spending limit imposed by the budget cap. As a result the team slipped behind Red Bull and came under greater pressure from Mercedes over the second half of the season.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Vasseur said he would not criticise the strategic decisions made before he arrived. “Development very often is a strategic choice now with the cost cap, to decide if you want to be more focussed on the new car – the car of the year after – or the current one,” he acknowledged. “But I was not there and I don’t want to make any judgement of what’s happened in the past. We’ll see during the season.”

Ferrari hasn’t triumphed since Leclerc’s July win in Austria

Tactical errors were blamed for a series of defeats Ferrari suffered during 2022. Vasseur believes improvements may be made by changing how the existing team functions rather than replacing individuals.

“When you are speaking about strategy or aerodynamics or another topic, you have to avoid to be just focused on the top of the pyramid. Very often when you are speaking about strategy it’s much more a matter of organisation than just the guy who is on the pit wall.

“I’m trying to understand exactly what happened on every single mistake of what’s happened last year and to try to know if it’s a matter of decision, if it’s a matter of organisation, of communication.

“Very often on the pit wall the biggest issue is more the communication and the number of people involved than the individuals. If you’ve got too many people discussing about the same things, when you will have the outcome of the discussions the car will be [starting] the next lap. You just need to have a be a clear of discussion and clear flow of communication between the good people at the right position for sure. But it’s work in progress.”

Ferrari “are in the process to review everything,” Vasseur confirmed. “It’s a bit short notice for me,” he added, “but we’ll have to do some improvement.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Red Bull beat Ferrari to last year’s championship by a wide margin: 759 points to 554. Over the course of the year Ferrari scored four wins, a total dwarfed by their rivals’ 17 victories, and none came their way over the second half of the season.

Vasseur observed team’s test at Fiorano this week

Nonetheless Vasseur remains confident the team will be able to fight for the championship during his first year in charge.

“First, I’m really convinced that at Ferrari today – and for sure my experience is limited to the last two weeks – but we have everything to win. We have to put everything together to do a good job but we have everything to be able to win.”

“Nothing is set into the stone,” he added. “If you have a look at some teams that were in a very dominant situation a couple of years ago, they are nowhere today. It means that you don’t have to take this kind of directions to say ‘okay it was like this the last decades or the last 20 years and it will stay like this the next 40 years’. The F1 is a changing world and we just have to be focussed on the job, on the performance and everything is possible.”

Having climbed from sixth in the 2020 championship to third the following season and second last year, winning the title is now “an obvious target” for Ferrari, says Vasseur.

“I think that when you are a top team you can’t have another target than the win, at the end of the day. You can’t start the season to say okay I would be happy with P2. That would be a lack of ambition. I think that we have everything to do a good job.”

“The target is to win the championship,” he affirmed. “And if you want to win, you have to beat Red Bull first.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

2023 F1 season

Browse all 2023 F1 season articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here