Vasseur on Leclerc: “You always build a team around a driver”

27 Apr, 2023

Fred Vasseur has dismissed any questions about the commitment Charles Leclerc has to Ferrari, outlining his importance for the team’s project.

The start of the season has been difficult for Leclerc, who retired from third place in Bahrain with a CE failure – which also compromised his race weekend in Jeddah as he took a grid penalty.

Ferrari was optimistic about the performance of the SF-23 over the winter, designing significant improvements based on their simulator figures. However, this has not been replicated on track.

Due to these early struggles at Maranello, there have been question marks about Leclerc’s chances of securing a Championship with the team – both in the short and long term.

The volume of senior personnel departing from Ferrari also indicates the team is entering a transitional period, which is not typically conducive to a title charge.

It must be emphasized that Leclerc’s contract does not expire until the end of 2024, so the speculation surrounding his immediate future has no foundation.

However, this will do little to prevent discussions about the 25-year-old’s chances of winning a Championship with Ferrari as their title drought continues.

Speaking in a press conference ahead of the Baku GP, Fred Vasseur responded to a question about Leclerc’s confidence in the Ferrari project:

“He is clearly part of the project. He is not a spectator. He is involved in the development of the team and part of the development because he’s developing himself. 

“He’s a performance contributor, both on track and off track, and as long as he plays this role, then we are on a good path. 

“But it’s true in every single team that you are always building a team around a driver. 

“If you look at the last twenty years or even more, all the successful stories in F1 were always with a team around someone – a driver. 

GP Azerbaijan

“Lewis at Mercedes, with Michael at Ferrari, Alonso at Renault, you can find tons of examples. 

“For sure, Charles is an important pillar of the performance, and he has to play his role inside and outside of the car. 

“I am really convinced that it’s a personal commitment from his side.”

Unsurprisingly, Vasseur has again made sure to reject any rhetoric questioning Leclerc’s commitment.

The Frenchman’s comments are aligned with Charles Leclerc’s statements ahead of this weekend, where he reiterated his confidence in Ferrari’s long-term prospects.

Despite the 97-point deficit between Ferrari and Red Bull in the standings, his belief in the team remains unchanged:

“What gives me confidence for the future is that I know the plans of the team, I know what’s coming to the car. 

“And this gives me confidence for the future because I know the idea and what Fred wants to do. I am 100% sure this is the right thing for the future and that it will bring us to fight with Red Bull. 

“When [we can achieve this] is the question, and I don’t have answer for now.”

It is no secret that Leclerc wants to win a title with Ferrari, so his eagerness to make this current partnership successful is not in doubt.

However, if Ferrari fails to challenge for an F1 Championship in 2023 and 2024, it would be naive to assume the Monegasque will not at least explore other possibilities.

Again, it must be stressed there are no indications that Leclerc will depart from the team before his contract expires.

With that said, until the Italian squad establishes itself as a title contender, speculation about his future will continue to circulate.

SEGUICI SU

Podcast

Privacy Policy Cookie Policy