Fred Vasseur, the Ferrari F1 Team Principal, has talked about his team’s radio blunder at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. During the safety car incident of the race, Charles Leclerc’s radio engineer committed a blunder, which cost the Monegasque driver a place against Lewis Hamilton. The incident occurred on lap 18, and from that point onward, the race proved to be an uphill task for Leclerc.
Under the safety car conditions, Lewis Hamilton dived into the pits and came out behind Leclerc, however, despite that, the Brit managed to overtake Leclerc as there was a moment of miscommunication between the Ferrari driver and his race engineer. The whole communication blunder went something like this.
Charles Leclerc was told, “Try to push from Safety Car line one. Hamilton just pitted.” Leclerc replied: “Xavi, you need to tell me that before!” The incident brought a lot of damage to Ferrari in terms of points. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc could only manage a disappointing P6 and P7 finish at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Fred Vasseur,, after the race, was asked to dwell on the incident, and while talking about it, he added, “Yes, it was not a good call, it is like it is. It’s not the main issue and I think it would be a mistake from our side to focus on [it]. I don’t want to say its details. It was a miscommunication, and we will have to speak, to fix it. It’s not the main issue at all over the weekend.”
Fred Vasseur’s take on Ferrari’s lack of pace in Jeddah
While the Maranello-based Ferrari F1 team faced operational issues during the race in Jeddah, it was not the main problem. The Italian outfit was surprisingly slow compared to its rivals and had the fourth-fastest car on the track. The team was behind Mercedes, Aston Martin, and of course, the reigning World Champions, Red Bull.
Fred Vasseur sees this as a much bigger issue for Ferrari, and while shedding light on it, he added, ” The most difficult thing in my business after a race like this is to understand what is going well and what is not. We have positive points, but we need a step on reliability. Even the first stint of the race we can be happy with, but the race was based on the last stint, and clearly, we did not have the pace.“
“In the tyre management, we were a bit conservative, but it’s only a matter of one or two-tenths. Nothing to do with the gap we had today. We need to understand the lack of performance and it’s not the tyre management.” Looking at the comments of the Ferrari boss, it is safe to say that the team is worried about its SF-23’s lack of pace and performance.
The 2023 F1 campaign is two races down, and Ferrari has already fallen far behind the Championship race. However, there are still 21 races remaining on the calendar for Leclerc and Co. Taking everything under consideration, would the Ferrari F1 team be able to produce significant improvement in the upcoming races?
Rishabh Negi is an F1 author at FirstSportz who ardently follows the sport and is also a passionate supporter of the Arsenal football team. He has done his Master's degree from the Delhi School of Economics and sees writing about F1, as something, that provides him solace to disconnect from the everyday chaos of life.
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