Ferrari’s upgraded car at the Spanish Grand Prix delivered improved potential but did not resolve consistency issues, according to team principal Fred Vasseur.
Finding consistent performance from the 2023 car has been the main area of focus for Ferrari, with both drivers finding the unpredictability having a significant impact on their confidence, particularly in race trim. A new floor and sidepod solution was introduced in Barcelona but Carlos Sainz faded from second on the grid to finish a distant fifth, while Charles Leclerc was unable to climb into the points after starting from the pit lane.
“We made a step forward in terms of potential,” Vasseur said. “The reference is Miami. In qualifying pace at least we were able to put Carlos on the first row — a step forward, probably. In the race you could consider that we made a step forward compared to Aston, but it’s far from enough.
“We still have a huge delta in terms of performance with Mercedes, from qualifying to the race. It’s where we have to put all the focus of the company if we want to come back and to have good races on Sunday that we are scoring points certainly.”
The gap to Mercedes was particularly noticeable during Sunday’s race, with Lewis Hamilton overtaking Sainz after the first round of pit stops and going on to finish 21 seconds ahead of the Spaniard. Vasseur admits it isn’t something Ferrari can dismiss as circuit-specific.
“This could also come from the level of downforce from team to team. I think the main issue for us is not the potential over the lap, this type of corner or this other. The main issue is the consistency.
“Charles’s car, for example, between the first and third stint with the same compound, on one the balance was all over the place, and the last one was OK-ish. And Carlos he did a decent first stint, a good last stint, and in the middle he lost 15 or 20 seconds to the competitors.
“It’s difficult to see (if peakiness has improved) because from track to track it’s more or less demanding. You can’t compare Miami and Barcelona in terms of the tarmac and the energy in the tires. But I would say that the global picture is the same — that we are there in qualifying and we are not there in the race. We are inconsistent on the same car between compounds –and sometimes between the same compounds.”