Vasseur insists that Red Bull can be beaten


Ferrari boss, Frederic Vasseur insists that Red Bull does not have a magic bullet and as such the Austrian team can be beaten.

Much like Mike Krack's comments about Lance Stroll matching Fernando Alonso, in terms of performance, Vasseur's latest claim tends to elicit the old "I'll have what he's on", line of thinking.

Despite being fourth in the standings, 339 points adrift, the Frenchman claims that Red Bull can be beaten this year.

"For sure, if you have a look at the numbers, it's quite difficult to imagine we could be champions on the team and driver championships," he told reporters, in yet another masterpiece of understatement. "But we need to keep the same mind-set, to try to get the best on every single weekend, not to be focused on the championship.

"We have to improve the package," he continued, "also to improve what we are doing on track, to try to get the best from the package that we have, it's where we have to be focused.

"I don't want to fix a target to say we have to do 'this' or 'this'," he insisted. "As long as we have room for improvement, we have to be 100% focused on this. It's clear that on every single topic, and every single pillar of the performance, we need to take a step forward."

As far as most are concerned, all that Ferrari is likely to be celebrating this weekend is its victory at Le Mans earlier this year, marked by the F1 team with a garish new livery featuring a go-faster yellow stripe and overalls that wouldn't look out of place on a stall in Petticoat Lane.

Turning his attention to Red Bull, he said: "I'm not sure that they have an area where they are much better than someone else. I think it's everywhere they are performing, in every single pillar of performance, the drivers, engine chassis, aero, suspension, strategy.

"I think it would be a mistake to say, 'OK, they are much better than us in this area, let's be full push on this one'. We have to try to get the best from what we have in every single area and to do a small step everywhere."

The fact is that, strategy and blunders aside, while the likes of McLaren have made impressive gains, Ferrari has almost stagnated.

"In Zandvoort we finished in front of McLaren," said the Frenchman. "I think you are a bit harsh in the judgement in the question. We are still P2 in terms of pure lap time in qualifying.

Indeed, at Spa, the top speed of the Red Bull with DRS was 211 mph, while the Ferrari hit 209 mph, Mercedes 207 mph and McLaren 202 mph.

"For sure, it's more difficult to improve when you are Mercedes, McLaren or Ferrari than when you are Williams coming from P10," he said. "They are making good steps forward, and congratulations to them, and we have to improve, for sure, and we are working like hell. We are making some small steps, and I hope that we'll have a better step in Monza in terms of performance.

"It's not that Red Bull have a magic bullet," he insisted. "Perhaps Max is doing a mega job today, but also it's coming from the fact that they are dominating and they are putting Max in a very good position to do a good job.

"I'm not sure that we have to change something. We have to improve everywhere, in every single area, in every single department. If two or three tenths are missing, I'm much more convinced that it's 10 times two or three hundredths of a second per lap than something else."

Asked about next year's car, which is said to be an entirely new concept with no carry-over, he said: "I don't want to speak about the next year car, that for sure is a different project. It's a different project for everybody.

"We are all trying to extract the best from the regulations and to do a step forward," he added. "We have still eight or nine races to go, and we have some upgrades to come in the next couple of races. Next year's project is different, but we are keeping these for the factory."

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Published: 31/08/2023
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