Ferrari needs small gains in all areas to match Red Bull, says Fred Vasseur

Horner targets Mexico Grand Prix for a Perez race win (0:33)

Christian Horner his expectations for Sergio Perez in the second half of the F1 season. (0:33)

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur says his team must improve by small amounts in every area to close the gap to runaway championship leaders Red Bull.

After emerging as Red Bull's closest rivals under F1's new regulations in 2022, Ferrari has slipped to fourth in the constructors' championship behind Mercedes and Aston Martin this year.

Pole positions in Azerbaijan and Belgium have hinted at the potential of this year's car, but a lack of race performance has resulted in just three podium finishes from 12 grands prix.

Vasseur believes there is not one single reason why his team is lagging behind Red Bull, but instead says there are marginal gains to be made in multiple areas.

"I'm not sure they have one area in which they are so much better than everyone else," he explained. "We've already had this discussion, it's not a matter of [car] concept or anything like this, I think they're performing in every single pillar of the performance, drivers, chassis, engine, aerodynamics, suspension, strategy, and that's why we have to improve.

"I think it would be a mistake to think, "OK, they are much better than us in this area, let's go for a full push on this one". We have to try and get the best out of what we have in every single area, and to do small steps everywhere.

"We're talking about a 0.2s gap and it's not 0.2s in aero, I think it's more one hundred times 0.002s or ten times 0.02s."

After Ferrari set its sights on the title at the start of the season, Vasseur admitted his team had fallen well short of expectations so far this year. The Frenchman, who took over the role of team principal in January, said his job is to ensure continuous improvement from now on as well as overseeing a recruitment drive at Maranello.

"For sure we're not getting the results we were expecting, and that means like every other single team on the grid we need to be on continuously improving mindset. We are recruiting a lot, we have already made some internal reorganizations and we are moving forward.

"But you know that if you look at the first 12 races or whatever number we've done so far, it has been really up and down, really tight and that means that just because you didn't get the results you were expecting that everything is wrong.

"The most difficult part of the job is understanding what's going well and what is going wrong, and where we can improve. For sure we are recruiting, we are recruiting a lot, we're trying to get that last couple of tenths we are missing today, but we are in the middle of the process and it is, in fact, a never ending process."

Vasseur said this year's car is still due upgrades in the second half of the season and that the 2024 car would target further improvements in all areas.

"If some teams are planning to carryover the gearbox or the monocoque and so on, we won't do it. We'll keep everything open to improve.

"But at the end of the day, I'm not sure that we have to unlock something on the car to make a step, again to come back on the previous question, I'm more convinced that we have to improve everywhere more than just on one topic.

"We are speaking about tenths of a second, we are not speaking about seconds. And we showed on some occasions that we are able to fight with Red Bull at least in qualifying.

"It means that the potential of the car is there, and we have to understand why we are a bit less performant in the race, and keep trying to improve these conditions, but I'm not sure that it's coming from the concept of the car."