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Vasseur says Ferrari and McLaren can ‘come back at Red Bull’ as he makes ‘gamechanger’ title race forecast

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IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 19: Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur looks on from the grid during the F1

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur is confident that the fine margins between the front-running teams could result in the championship battle changing quickly, with the Scuderia and McLaren both able to “come back” at Red Bull over the course of one or two weekends.

While Max Verstappen looked to have a comfortable lead for much of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, he faced a late-race challenge from an increasingly fast Lando Norris. The Briton hunted down his rival and, while he ultimately just missed out, crossed the line only 0.725s behind Verstappen.

MONDAY MORNING DEBRIEF: Cat and mouse between Verstappen and Norris, but how did Red Bull sneak the victory?

The Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, had been chasing Norris earlier in the event. Though he was unable to hold onto the McLaren, the Monegasque was still only a few seconds back when he claimed third.

Asked after the race if this all suggested that there was a closer fight for the title developing this year, Vasseur pointed out that it is still early days in the season and as such the picture could change over the remaining Grands Prix, particularly given how small the gaps are between the teams.

2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Norris gets punchy on the radio as he tries to chase down Verstappen

“First, we did only seven races out of 24, which means there are still 17 to go,” the Frenchman explained. “At this point of the season last year we were 100 points behind Aston Martin and we finished 100 points in front of them.

“It means that the end of the championship is never after race seven. It’s even more true this season, because the gap is very close. It’s not very often that you have six or potentially eight cars who could win a race.

READ MORE: Vasseur ‘a bit frustrated’ as he pinpoints where Ferrari lost chance of home Imola victory

“It means that when you are not in a good shape you can move from P1 to P8, and in P8 you are scoring almost zero. It means that the championship can change in one or two weekends.”

This could especially apply should any team experience a retirement, something that was seen during Round 3 in Australia when Verstappen and both Mercedes cars recorded DNFs.

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 19: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 leads Carlos Sainz

Vasseur believes that Ferrari and McLaren can both "come back" at Red Bull in the championship battle

“Imagine that you have a crash, a DNF and so on, it’s a gamechanger in terms of the championship,” added Vasseur.

“Honestly, I didn’t have a look on the classification and I don’t know exactly the delta of points, but I think if one team is doing a one-two, and the other is a DNF, McLaren can come back, or we can come back on Red Bull.

READ MORE: Leclerc pleased with Imola podium as he says ‘it’s looking good’ for Ferrari in remainder of season

“It’s still 17 weekends to go, let’s be focused on Monaco, don’t think about the championship, or at least it’s what I will tell to my guys tomorrow morning. We are focused on what we have to do race after race and we have time to discuss about this.”

The next event on the calendar is the aforementioned Monaco, with F1 returning to the iconic venue from May 24-26.

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