Formula 1 Racing

If you think you are good, you are dead

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

After McLaren announced its arrival at the top echelon of F1 in Miami and Imola, Ferrari officially joined the three-way fight in Monaco. While Monaco’s cramped street circuit will always remain an outlier, it has confirmed trends that Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have all closed up to within a tenth and a half, with the favourite on a given weekend partly down to the nature of the circuit and the execution of a race weekend.

Although Red Bull is still set to be the favourite on smoother, high-downforce circuits like Barcelona, it no longer has that comfortable margin to snatch race wins on layouts where the RB20 can’t flex its muscle and its weakness over bumps and kerbs sticks out like a sore thumb.

As Charles Leclerc closed to within 31 points of Max Verstappen and Ferrari is now 24 points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ standings, the tifosi and the Italian media have smelled blood. Team boss Vasseur has been hailed as the Scuderia’s saviour, some 15 months after taking over the helm.

But Vasseur doesn’t want to hear about it. Now is not the time to lean back and soak up the adulation, but to strike the iron while it’s finally starting to get up to the desired temperature. His top to bottom overhaul at Maranello to make every single department of the Gestione Sportiva more efficient and performant will just continue as planned.

“If you start to think that you are in a good shape, you are dead,” Vasseur told the Italian media, including Autosport’s Italian sister site, on Thursday.

“It means that we need to keep the same approach and to have continuous improvement, department by department, on every single area, including drivers, including the pit wall, including everything.

“Even when you are doing a good job, you have to do a better job the week after. If you start to be convinced that what you are doing is good, it’s the beginning of the end. On every single area we have to push the boundaries a little bit more.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Erik Junius

It is all part of Vasseur’s overarching philosophy that has apparently done Ferrari a world of good. Don’t let your highs get too high, but also don’t let the lows get too low. Mistakes are being dealt with, but without the finger pointing and blame culture that pervaded under previous regimes.

While it was the only team that prevented Red Bull from sweeping the 2023 season with Carlos Sainz’s cunning win in Singapore, Vasseur’s first year in…

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