Flavio Briatore expects absolutely nothing from Ferrari this season, as the Italian can only see how far the Maranello team is already lagging behind Red Bull.
Flavio Briatore has no illusions about Scuderia Ferrari’s chances of fighting for the Formula One world championship this year after a campaign that has been largely dominated by Red Bull, which already has five wins from as many races.
Ferrari woeful 2023 start
Since F1 changed the points system in 2010, Ferrari have never had fewer points than they do now in 2023. Ferrari made a miserable start to F1 2023, scoring just 26 points in the first three races, with a mild recovery in the next two races adding 52 points to a total tally of 78.
By the end of Australia, Charles Leclerc had two DNFs to his name – in Bahrain he retired with an engine problem and in Australia he was involved in a lap one collision with Lance Stroll.
Fred Vasseur has denied that there is a bad atmosphere at Ferrari and insisted that he has the support of the team’s senior figures.
After a poor end to the 2022 season, Ferrari would have hoped to bounce back much more quickly in 2023.
It would be fair to say that the atmosphere in the corridors of Maranello is less than ideal, but team boss Vasseur had refuted this last month, insisting that he has a strong relationship with chairman John Elkann and chief executive Benedetto Vigna.
“The mood within the team is incredibly good,” the Frenchman told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com. “Everyone is very motivated, very concentrated and the drivers also provide maximum support.
“If the question is about the relationship I have with John and Benedetto, trust me, it’s very positive. We certainly didn’t get the results we expect, but we are all working together to improve the situation.”
When quizzed about how Leclerc may be feeling following his poor start to 2023, Vasseur said he had “absolutely no doubts about the integrity of Charles’ motives.”
Briatore expects nothing of Ferrari
Former Renault team boss and manager of former Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is less confident about the situation in Maranello.
“They are far behind, the car has countless problems, and Charles Leclerc, as we also saw in Miami, is not competitive, unlike his teammate Sainz who has defended himself well,” said Flavio Briatore in the Italian newspaper Il Riformista.
The former Renault team principal in Formula 1 added: “They have been saying for fifteen years that it will be next year [the world title], but it never happens.”
With that in mind, and seeing how Red Bull are dominating the start of this 2023 season, Flavio Briatore has no illusions about the rest of the world championship.
“Red Bull is in a league of its own. Max [Verstappen] has strength and style, and the world championship is already his,” says the Italian.
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Leclerc says Vassuer should be able to turn things around
Charles Leclerc believes the new team boss should be about to turn things around this season at Ferrari after some positives in the last two races.
Frederic Vasseur left his position as Alfa Romeo team boss, which he had been in charge of since 2017, to take the reins at Ferrari ahead of the start of the 2023 campaign, following the departure of former team boss Mattia Binotto.
However, the start of his tenure at Ferrari is not all smooth sailing with the team clearly lacking competitiveness at the start of the 2023 season.
But when asked about Vasseur’s approach since he joined Ferrari, Charles Leclerc said he is 100% behind him and believes he is currently doing everything he can to bring the team back to success.
“He is just starting this process and so far he has tried to analyse the situation as quickly as possible to make the best possible changes for the future,” said Charles Leclerc.
“So I think most of the work will be done from now on, so we will see. Obviously, I talk to Fred [Vasseur] a lot and I know what his medium and long term plans are for the team, and I’m completely behind him and I trust him completely.”
“So I’m sure that these are the right choices and that this is going in the right direction for the team. So, I’m looking forward to it all, but yeah, we have to wait and see [changes].”
Briatore less confident
Flavio Briatore is perhaps less confident about Vasseurs chances at Ferrari, saying that a fine example is Aston Martin who has leap frogged from two seasons of seventh place constructors finishes to ‘best of the rest’ behind Red Bull.
“There is also Aston Martin, a team that until last year was not competitive. Then they burst in as number two between Red Bull and Mercedes by investing heavily in technology and in their factory [which is still under construction] for over twenty million.”
“It was for all these reasons that I pushed Fernando [Alonso] to join Aston Martin, which is now second to Ferrari after four Grands Prix [five, ed.].”
“Aston Martin performed well in the last round in Miami despite the fact that it’s not exactly a circuit that suits the car well.”
“But if nothing unexpected happens, the world championship is already written, even if some circuits like Monaco can still offer big surprises.”
Before the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which is scheduled for 19-21 May at Imola on Ferrari’s home turf, the Maranello team is fourth in the constructors’ championship, 146 points behind leader Red Bull.
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We all know what Flavio’s answer would be to Ferrari’s problems – bribe someone to nobble the others. It’s the Italian way.