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Ferrari Confident They Are Moving in the Right Direction: “A Decent Step in Every Single Area”

“All teams take a long time to build up something strong," Vassuer said. ...

It has been a dismal few years at Ferrari. They blew a shot at championship glory in 2022 and were still reeling from the after-effects in 2023. Now, in 2024, things are looking different and by that, I mean more stable. The team have shown clear gains in their race pace as well as improving their often-maligned strategy. But does this mean that they can battle Red Bull?

We can thank their recent success to the guiding hand of Frederic Vasseur, the Frenchman who replaced Mattia Binotto as team principal. He has been vocal about wanting to change things at the team, almost everything, but he knew to take things slow.

“If you have a look,” Vasseur told The New York Times in 2023, “All teams take a long time to build up something strong.

“But when we have been in a tough situation, the reaction of the team has been calm, trying to understand, correcting step by step, not wanting to change everything straight away.”

The big question is time and how much he would be given by the higher-ups at Ferrari. It’s a big organisation with a lot of moving parts that notoriously gets too involved with the trackside team. But Vasseur, while changing things, was always aware that it will never truly be his team.

“It will always be the Ferrari team first. It will have my touch, I will have to make some changes, and the approach will be different, but the important thing for me is to be sure we are going in the right direction.”

The best news the Tifosi can hear is that while it isn’t Fred’s team, he has been given “the freedom to manage the team in a way that [he has] to.”

And it’s working.

We saw towards the end of 2023 moments of brilliance from the team and throughout the whole year we saw their strategy much improved. 2024 looks to be continuing the momentum built up last year.

2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

While Ferrari didn’t secure a win in the recent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, they were in a much stronger position when compared to this time last year. The 2023 Saudi GP saw Ferrari finishing sixth and seventh with both drivers over 35 seconds down from the leading Red Bull.

In 2024, that gap has shrunk to just 18 seconds.

Vasseur attributes this gain to every aspect the team are improving, which is to say all of it, but not all at once.

“Now the performance is coming from everywhere,” Vasseur told the media after the Saudi GP. “It’s never that you have one thing that’s five-tenths on the car.

“If we want to catch up, we needed to improve on every single area. It was our approach and it paid well.

“We did a decent step on every single area and we have to continue to push.”

That push will be supported by a few upgrades and if they do eventually push Ferrari ahead of the Red Bull’s, the team’s approach will not change.

“I’m focused on the team and focused on the fact we have to develop the car, and even if one weekend we are in front of Red Bull, we will keep the same approach, try to do a better job that week after,” Vasseur continued.

“It’s not because we are P1, P2, or P3 that you stop or develop more. We are full push and will continue with the same approach… But I think it’s a clear step forward today [in Jeddah], was already a good sign last week in Bahrain, but a clear step forward today.

“And it’s very encouraging for everybody, and it’s the best way to get everybody fully motivated.”

With a clear ethos and a steady plan on how to reach success, there’s a lot of confidence to be had in Ferrari but building that trust again with fans will be a long process, though Vasseur seems to be the man for the job.

Working at Ferrari comes with titanic pressure to perform, and it often causes rash decisions to appease a passionate fanbase. The Ferrari of old would promise radical changes that make for great headlines but not results. Heads roll, the process starts again. It’s Vasseur who has (so far) halted this pattern and played down what the team and car can do and what results are expected. No longer do Ferrari build an insane amount of hype before a season only to disappoint fans after the first few races. It’s about realistic goals and a clear path and plan to the front.

The best part? It seems to be working.

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