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In the 2023 Formula 1 season opener, Carlos Sainz of Ferrari finished in fourth place, trailing the winner Max Verstappen by 48.0 seconds. In contrast, during this year’s opening race, Sainz closed the gap significantly, finishing just 25.1 seconds behind Verstappen and securing a third-place finish. Frederic Vasseur, discussing Ferrari’s performance with Motorsport.com, highlighted this improvement as a sign of the team’s progress over the past year. Additionally, he noted Charles Leclerc’s achievement in overcoming brake issues to finish in fourth place, right behind his teammate Sainz, as another positive outcome from the weekend. Despite these achievements, Vasseur acknowledged having mixed feelings about the race’s results.

Frederic Vasseur

Frederic Vasseur, reflecting on Ferrari’s performance, highlighted both positive and negative aspects. A significant achievement was securing pole position with the fastest lap in the Q2 session, indicating an improvement in their race pace compared to the previous year, closing half of the gap to Red Bull. However, he acknowledged it wasn’t sufficient due to persistent issues over the weekend, specifically mentioning the need to address brake problems on Charles Leclerc’s car. Despite these challenges, Leclerc managed to secure a fourth-place finish, a result Vasseur found commendable given the circumstances.

Vasseur detailed the brake issues, noting a significant temperature difference between the left and right brakes, causing pulling and locking, making it challenging to manage. However, the situation improved towards the race’s end, especially when Leclerc was in the slipstream of another car.

Addressing last year’s issue with tire performance, Vasseur noted improvements with the SF-24 but acknowledged a remaining pace delta to Red Bull as a concern. Despite this, he sees a good opportunity for the team, citing a better understanding of the car’s weaknesses and areas for improvement compared to the previous year. This understanding provides a more solid base for development throughout the season.

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