Frederic Vasseur doesn’t think Ferrari has a concept issue like Mercedes as he added on the positives from F1 Bahrain GP weekend.

For Ferrari, Bahrain GP was a very disappointing weekend with Charles Leclerc retiring from the race and Carlos Sainz passed by countryman Fernando Alonso for third place. In fairness, they got close to Red Bull in qualifying but race day was a struggle.

It was a tough weekend where both protagonists reckoned the circuit played a role as Leclerc and Sainz had issues with tyre degradation on race day which is a weakness on Ferrari side. With the moderate opener, questions were raised on its concept.

However, their new team chief Vasseur reckons their issues are not due to concept troubles. It is more down to the car set-up. The questions were raised after Toto Wolff admitted that Mercedes seemingly got their concept wrong in some ways.

Vasseur argued that he hasn’t seen a car yet which has worked on qualifying side, but not so much on race. “I’m completely convinced about this, that I never saw a car that is able to match the pace of another one in qualifying and to able to race, then it’s a matter of set-up and some choices on the car, but it’s not a matter of concept at all”.

“So we don’t have to go into this direction [like Mercedes].”  Haas, who use Ferrari engines and a lot of the parts from the Italian manufacturer, also had issues with race pace. When pressed on, Vasseur stuck to his previous answer of it not being a concept issue.

“It’s my position, and I’m sure of that because I never experienced in my life a car able to be quick on one lap and for a conceptual issue to not be fast in the long stint [as I said],” continued Vasseur. “Now it is my point of view, it’s more a set-up issue, tuning issue that we have learn where we are doing well”.

“I don’t think it is about cooling or something like this and now it is now on us to come back next race stronger,” summed up Vasseur. It was just the first race out and there are another 22 events to go, so Ferrari is not getting downbeat.

Ahead of the Bahrain GP, Jock Clear sounded confident about their chances but the result out to be different eventually. Amid the doom and gloom, Vasseur was pushed again if the confidence is there and despite showing that pre-race, what went wrong.

Vasseur expanded on the positives especially their qualifying and Leclerc’s first stint but was open to admit the issues with tyre degradation where they couldn’t run the soft-soft-hard strategy like Red Bull did. Despite that, the Frenchman wanted to be confident still.

“We have some let’s say positive aspects of the weekend: the fact that we’re able to match them in qualifying, and it’s good news that the fact that Charles was able to keep up with them in the first stint was also a good situation for us,” said Vasseur.

“Now, they were able to do the second stint with soft and we had to put the hard to go to the end and some of the base difference at this stage can also be from the tyre choice, we were not able to do soft-soft-hard. It is like it is. The most difficult thing in my business is to be able to do a proper analysis of the situation”.

“To know what is going well and what is going wrong, and to try to do the best on the issues when we have a better picture of the situation. After the test, we were I think a bit – and every single team was a bit – blind with the situation. Everybody played a lot with the level of fuel and the engine mode”.

“I think everybody, including media were expecting that Red Bull will be a bit more far away in quali and, and we were there – as I said before – even to be able to match them the first 15 laps for me was a good news. Now, the fact that they’re able to do a two soft, one hard when we have to do two hard, one soft, for sure it’s a game killer”.

“We have to improve on this. But I would say that the first issue for me is the reliability, because we need to have a zero issue on the preparation. We know exactly what we did in Bahrain and we are confident we can make a step forward,” summed up Vasseur, who along with Leclerc, Sainz and Laurent Mekies spoke to the employees at Maranello.

Here’s Frederic Vasseur on the Bahrain GP problem