New Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur insists there ‘will not be a No1 driver’ next season as he promises Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz an equal leap in winning the F1 world title
Fred Vasseur, the latest unlikely candidate to be given control of the institution known as Ferrari, insisted he would not use Charles Leclerc as the team’s No. 1 driver, but stated his belief that “everything is in place to to win”.
In a sometimes oddly light-hearted press conference – the Frenchman’s first in English since taking office earlier this month – he promised Carlos Sainz the same leap into Ferrari’s first World Drivers’ Championship since Kimi Raikkonen beat Lewis Hamilton 16 years ago.
“The priority is to win for Ferrari,” said Vasseur, 54. “There won’t be No. 1 and No. 2, but if I have to take action at any stage of the season (to favor one driver over another) , I will do it. It doesn’t matter which of them it is.’
New Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur says “everything is set to win next season”.
Among the many failings that have plagued a fast-starting Ferrari over the past year – lack of development, unreliability and strategic insanity – the previous regime, led by the now-deceased Mattia Binotto, divided its favor largely equally between eventual runners-up Leclerc and even Sainz although the latter had an unexpectedly unproductive season.
Vasseur’s decision to maintain this balance runs counter to policies implemented under the stewardship of another Frenchman, Jean Todt, who oversaw the years of Michael Schumacher’s rise and dominance around the turn of the century.
Schumacher was the undisputed No. 1 – a privilege some critics claim diminishes his legend.
Vasseur has promised Charles Leclerc (L) and Carlos Sainz (R) an equal leap to the world title
Vasseur, who joins from Alfa Romeo and has successfully guided Leclerc in junior formulas, said he has exchanged text messages with Todt in recent weeks. “Any advice welcome,” smiled the new man, although he ruled out an official advisory role for Todt, who stepped down as FIA President 13 months ago.
Vasseur deflected questions about whether he would make changes to the misfiring strategy pundits, saying it would be “arrogant” to make a sweeping judgment after just two weeks at Maranello. He added that it is not always the tip of the iceberg that needs to be addressed, but rather the processes underneath.
Vasseur, Ferrari’s fifth team boss in a decade, said: “I said we want to win and we believe we can. After 32 years on the pit wall, I hope I can bring some racing spirit to the job.”
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