Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc both lost ground to rivals ahead on the hards – having started on the medium and soft respectively – on their way to distant sixth and seventh places.
Vasseur suggests that the hard compound simply didn’t work effectively on the SF-23 with the track temperatures at the time, and stresses that the team has to focus on ensuring that the car is competitive in all conditions through a race weekend.
He believes that it still has some potential given that Leclerc qualified second in Jeddah.
“I think the balance was quite good,” said the Frenchman. “If you look at the balance in quali it was OK. It’s not that we had a big issue with the balance, we were not complaining about oversteering or understeering, and even on the bumps the car was decent.
“My first feeling is more that we were able to extract the maximum potential of the car on some occasions, with the soft in qualifying, or on the medium in the first part of the race.
“When we struggled much more it was with the hard. I don’t know if it’s due to the track temp, but in the end when the track temp went down, it’s related to the compound.
“But my point of view like this, it’s crystal clear that we had good moments, a good journey to the weekend, and a very poor one at the end of the race.”
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari
Photo by: Ferrari
Vasseur insisted that the Jeddah race form will not panic Ferrari into changing its development plans.
“The performance in all businesses it’s always coming from different pillars,” he said.
“It’s never one single thing going well or wrong. And it’s not because we had a poor stint with the hard that we have to stop the development on the aero, the suspension or the engine.
“We will continue to do our best on every single area of the performance.
“But if you have a look just on the picture of this weekend I think the potential of the car was OK-ish on Saturday and perhaps OK-ish at the beginning of the race, but we were not there on the last part.”
He added: “It’s not because we are not performing or we are performing that we will change the plan. The updates that you will see next week in Australia, the parts are already in the production.
“It’s not because I will come back to the factory tomorrow morning and say guys we have to push that we will have updates next week in Australia. It’s not working like this.”
Asked if Red Bull can be caught this season he said: “I think so. We have to continue to push. I think it’s not the right attitude to think about the gap and say, will we be able to close the gap?
“We have to be focused on ourselves, that we know when we are weak and we have to improve on this one. We will see what is the outcome, when we do a decent step.”