Fred Vasseur: Ferrari don’t have a number 1 or number 2 driver

Jaden Diaz
27 Gen, 2023

Newly appointed Ferrari team principal, Fred Vasseur, has taken his first press conference ahead of the 2023 season.

After a series of disappointing seasons for the Maranello squad, Fred Vasseur has been tasked with returning the Scuderia to Championship success.

Ferrari’s executives will unlikely demand a Championship immediately, but there is still a need to address the preventable mistakes that ruined the team’s campaign last year.

The team’s performance will also be key, especially since the Scuderia suffered a significant loss in competitiveness in the second half of 2022.

Vasseur spoke to the media – including – and explained how he intends to manage the relationship between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. 

One of the specific questions posed to Vasseur was whether his previous relationship with Leclerc impacted Ferrari’s decision:

“I know Charles from Go-karts, 12 years ago, since he was more or less 12 years old, and it’s certainly easier to manage a person I’ve known for longer than someone I’ve known. 

“But I don’t think this helped me get into Ferrari. I’m not here to put Charles in the best position to win, but to put Ferrari in the best position to win.”

Vasseur was also asked about the infamous ‘number 1 driver’ role and whether there will be any hierarchy between Ferrari’s driver pairing ahead of 2023:

The goal is not to win with Charles or with Carlos, but to win. The only number 1 is Ferrari.

“We are able to deliver an identical car to both drivers, and we will push like hell to try and win the World Championships. 

“If then, during the season, there will be the conditions whereby one of the two will have more chances of winning than another, then he will become the number 1.”

Although Vasseur dismissed the idea of either Ferrari driver receiving priority going into 2023, he did not rule out making common-sense adjustments later in the year.

This seems a reasonable approach for the new Ferrari boss to take. Still, as is almost always the case in F1, things are far more complicated in reality than they are in theory.

Ferrari faced significant scrutiny for their driver management last season, especially after the very poorly managed races in Monaco and Britain. 

So whilst reliability and strategy were the Italian outfit’s most significant weaknesses last year, the team’s ability to manage its drivers will likely be tested again – perhaps with more at stake – in 2023.


Author: Paolo D’Alessandro

Co-authors: Giuliano Duchessa , Piergiuseppe Donadoni and Andrea Vergani

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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