Ferrari disclose aggressive upgrade plan to reel in Red Bull
Frederic Vasseur has revealed Ferrari intend to bring an upgrade to every race for the remainder of the 2023 season as part of an aggressive development plan to catch the dominant Red Bull outfit.
Red Bull are the runaway leaders in 2023, having won each race of the five races to date to establish a 122-point lead over Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship.
In the Drivers’ standings, meanwhile, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are separated by 14 points in the Drivers’ standings with the latter 30 points ahead of Fernando Alonso.
Despite being the only other team to claim a pole position this season, Ferrari have made a disappointing start to 2023 and sit fourth – behind Mercedes – ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Like Mercedes, who are debuting a heavily revised W14 car in Monte Carlo, Ferrari have not been knocked off their development path by the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna GP and have introduced new parts including a new rear corner and rear wing this weekend.
Vasseur says this is the first step of an aggressive plan for the Scuderia, with further additions planned for next week’s Spanish GP as well as next month’s Canadian GP and around the time of the British and Austrian rounds in early July.
According to Autosport, he said: “We are not supposed to bring updates in Monaco because it’s a tricky one.
“And we want to be much more focused on the set-up and the driving during the weekend.
“But what we were supposed to bring in Imola will hit the track this weekend. And we’ll have another step forward in Barcelona next week.
“It’s not the easiest one to do an update on the car in Monaco, because I think it’s more important for the team to be focused on the driving and the setup.
“But if per plan you were supposed to have something in Imola, we would be stupid to not put it on the car. And we were supposed to have just a small update in Imola, and we’ll bring it tomorrow [Friday].
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“Barcelona, for sure, it will be an update on the car, but we are not planning to bring a big package each five races.
“We will bring small update every single race. And I don’t want to say that it’s Barcelona or nothing. After Barcelona we will have a small update in Montreal, and another one in UK/Austria.
“We are planning today to bring updates every single race until the end of the season.”
Vasseur insisted the development plan is not driven by Ferrari believing they retain a chance of winning the 2023 title, with the team instead keen to extract more performance from each race to the next.
“I think it would be a mistake to think about the Championship,” he added. “Not that I’m desperate, it’s that we are taking [it] race by race.
“And I think it would be exactly the same if we are leading the Championship. I think the worst case scenario is to overreact in one case or the other.
“And we are still pushing, still trying to bring updates, good updates on the car to try to understand where we have to improve.
“But I’m sure that the others will do exactly the same as us. And it doesn’t mean that we stop the Championship or something like this.
“The best way is to push everybody to be motivated and fully in the race and it will be a mistake to say, OK, let’s forget this one.”
Carlos Sainz topped the opening practice session in Monaco, appearing to confirm suspicions that Ferrari could be in contention for a first win of 2023 this weekend.
Vasseur is excited to see what can be achieved if at least one of his drivers can secure a place on the front row of the grid for Sunday’s race.
“From the beginning I think we were always in a position to fight for the pole position,” he added. “And when you have to start from the first row I think in Monaco you can expect to win, or at least you have the chance to do it.
“And for sure it’s a good opportunity for us. Now let’s see what happens [on Friday] and Saturday before the race of Sunday. Step-by-step.
“What you can say for Monaco is that the qual pace is much more important than it was in Miami or in Baku a couple of weeks before.
“It means that we are fully focused on quali, but as everybody, nobody is preparing the race on the grid, it would be bull**** also.
“We are fully focused on quali. And I think that we were into the pace in quali in Miami or in Baku, and perhaps the track is also suiting a little bit more the car than some others.
“We have good hopes for the quali session.”
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