Ferrari is known for having high standards. As the most successful Formula 1 team of all time, any season in which it doesn't win the championship is generally considered a failure—and boy have there been lots of those lately. However, new team principal Fred Vasseur is a little more easygoing, based on his comments after the Australian Grand Prix.
If you missed the race, it was chaos incarnate, and the first F1 race ever to feature three red flags. The last was caused in part by Carlos Sainz hitting Fernando Alonso at the second restart. Despite running in fourth earlier in the race, the crash netted Sainz a penalty that left him outside of the points. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc barely played a role in proceedings, having spun off on Lap 1 after contact from Lance Stroll.
Despite a haul of zero points, though, Vasseur was upbeat, as reported by Formula1.com. The Ferrari head agreed with suggestions it was a "nightmare" race for the team, but pushed a happier narrative. Asked about the team's struggles, Vasseur replied "Yes, but my job is to take the positive, not just the negative... I think it is more a negative because we did overall a good job."
Vasseur's statements paint an interesting picture compared to the team's performance across the weekend. Qualifying was unkind, with Sainz and Leclerc starting in 5th and 7th place, respectively. That's barely passable for a team that wants to be in championship contention.
Meanwhile, the race offered little joy, beyond Sainz's run in 4th place. That might have been seen as a decent recovery drive after Sainz was burned by the first red flag, but his subsequent penalty left him down in 12th place. "Carlos had a very good recovery after the unlucky pit stop just before the red flag, and to get penalized like this just before the end is very harsh," noted Vasseur.
The Ferrari team principal was eager to note that the team is making forward progress, however. "It is a step forward from two weeks ago in Jeddah, and now we have to do another step forward for Baku,” said Vasseur. He was tight-lipped on potential plans to bring updates to the next race, but reiterated that he was pleased with the team's improved race pace in Australia.
Perhaps Vasseur's words are best considered in the context he works in. He may have seen his race team doing their best with a car that isn't on par with the Red Bulls out in front. It bears noting, too, that much of the pain was outside of Ferrari's control. To the audience, though, it's difficult to understand Vasseur taking any positives from such a disastrous weekend.
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