Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur explains how to make Max Verstappen vulnerable to mistakes in 2024

Fred Vasseur, the Ferrari team principal pointed out the opportunity for Ferrari to take advantage of Verstappen's potential mistakes if put under more pressure by rising competition in future years.


Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur explains how to make Max Verstappen vulnerable to mistakes in 2024

Max Verstappen and Fred Vasseur (Via IMAGO)

Max Verstappen has been undefeatable for the past year, with nineteen wins in 2023 out of the twenty-two available. The Dutchman could not be defeated at any venue except for three, one of which was Carlos Sainz for the Scuderia Ferrari at the Singapore Grand Prix, who was the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race this year.

Verstappen’s closest rivals this year have been quite far off, but the primary ones overall in the year were Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris, and Charles Leclerc. Ferrari in particular was close to matching Red Bull’s pace at quite a few Grands Prix, Singapore, Las Vegas, and Abu Dhabi were prime examples.

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Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur claimed that Ferrari hadn’t pushed him hard enough. The Frenchman claimed that the 3x World Champion would make mistakes if put under further pressure. The Las Vegas GP for example was nearly won by Charles Leclerc who could have beaten out Verstappen if not for an unlucky safety car.

There is no doubt on the fact that he was dominating all the season. And the only issue for us is that, as everybody, he will do more mistakes when he will be under pressure. But nobody was able to put him under pressure this season except us at the last two or three events.
Fred Vasseur said, as reported by motorsport.com

The most successful team in F1 history missed out on championship hopes in 2022 after strategic and reliability issues. They also missed out on P2 in the Championship in 2023, losing to Mercedes amid Sainz facing troubles in Abu Dhabi. Fred Vasseur has said that the Scarlet Red team need to be more opportunistic and efficient going into the upcoming 2024 campaign.

Disparity in Ferrari as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz face differing contractual situations

Ferrari has been represented by the faces of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc since Sebastian Vettel departed from the team in 2020. With both drivers winning multiple races with the team, they have had similar performance and pace during their partnership, albeit with Leclerc slightly ahead of the Spaniard.

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Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at the Singapore Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at the Singapore Grand Prix (via IMAGO)

Recent rumors have emerged about the contracts for both drivers though from a report by gazzetta.it, and it does not reflect Ferrari’s insistence that both drivers will be promoted equally. With a $50 million salary coming for Leclerc with a five-year contract, Carlos Sainz is expected to have his deal with the team extended by only a single year.

Ferrari reportedly has eyes on the talented Lando Norris, who currently has a McLaren contract till atleast 2025, after which Ferrari plans to try and sign the British talent. Sainz meanwhile has faced rumors of a move to Audi, which will enter F1 after their Sauber buyout in 2026, though the Spaniard has repeatedly denied this.

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