Frederic Vasseur: I don't care about Red Bull and McLaren

"We are fighting with McLaren and Red Bull for first. I'm only focused on myself."

by Sead Dedovic
Frederic Vasseur: I don't care about Red Bull and McLaren
© Clive Rose/Getty Images Sport

Frédéric Vasseur, Ferrari's team principal, isn't particularly concerned about the performances of rival teams, namely Red Bull and McLaren. Everything suggests that there will be a race between these three teams until the end of the season, but only one will ultimately clinch the championship. 

Ferrari has surprised many with its stellar performances this season. The Italian team attracts attention day by day, considering that some didn't expect Ferrari to be in contention for the top spot. 

Vasseur spoke to the media about Ferrari's rivalry with McLaren and Red Bull, but he wasn't too open to making analyses. This experienced figure in the F1 scene doesn't intend to talk too much about it, especially since this is the first time they're competing with these two teams. His primary focus is on Ferrari's progress, while he doesn't want to pay too much attention to their rivals.

"It's not me - I'm not speaking about that," -Vasseur said, as quoted by Racing News 365.

"We are fighting with McLaren and Red Bull for first. I'm only focused on myself. I don't care about the others. The target is to do a good job to improve the car, to do a good job with the drivers."

It's too early to draw conclusions about what awaits us at the end of the season. Few expected such a turn of events in the earlier part of the season. Predictions mostly leaned towards Red Bull reasserting dominance, as in previous years. However, the Austrian team has failed to impress fans in the last few races, indicating that the championship race could be more interesting than ever before.

"Then we are fighting with the guys who are with us on the grid. I'm not focused at all on someone because we have still 17 [16] races to go."- Vasseur continued.

After the last race, Vasseur emphasized McLaren's strong performance. He highlighted that both teams had similar pace, which is undoubtedly an interesting aspect. As Ferrari's team principal, Vasseur doesn't want to focus on Red Bull or fixate on that team, but rather expects Ferrari to progress.

"McLaren is a contender, but for sure, today, we were one-three, they do two-four - we had exactly the same pace. I think yesterday [in qualifying] it was a matter of one-tenth of a second. And they were in front of us last week in Imola, and it will be like this until the end [of the season]. I was not thinking about Red Bull, and I'm not doing a fixation on Red Bull at all."- Vasseur continued.

Frederic Vasseur: Max made more mistakes in Imola than in the last three seasons

Although Vasseur was mysterious in the previous interview, in one conversation he was more open, considering there is immense pressure on Max Verstappen, especially now that fans expect him to win race after race. Verstappen is someone who can handle pressure, but when expectations are set too high and are difficult to meet, it can lead to frustration and negative consequences. Vasseur highlighted that Verstappen made a lot of mistakes in the Imola race, which could indeed be a sign of what we were discussing.

"I don't want to draw any conclusions from this weekend, but if you look at the last two weekends, Max made more mistakes in Imola than in the last three seasons. As soon as you have to push more, if you have to stay in your comfort zone for the strategy, for everything, you don't have to make mistakes."- he said.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen© Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport

Vasseur's observations about Red Bull suggest that while they may have faced challenges recently, he refrains from making definitive conclusions. He anticipates Red Bull's quick return to strength and doesn't assume that all races will be straightforward until the end of the season.

He further explains that when a team finds itself needing to be more meticulous, there's often a domino effect of improvements over the last several months.

Can Red Bull recover?

His opinion is also shared by some F1 experts and former drivers. Red Bull is far from the team we're used to seeing in past seasons, especially last season. It's difficult to conclude whether the upcoming races will tell a different story or if Red Bull will continue to experience a decline. Max Verstappen is now a more crucial figure for the team's leaders than ever before. In moments when they may not have the best car, his driving qualities could come to the fore. The 27-year-old Dutchman has only one option, and that is to give his all and believe that he can achieve success.

Frederic Vasseur Red Bull