Vasseur puts himself under pressure at Ferrari
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 15th February, 2023 - 1:35am
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has placed himself under immediate pressure by insisting the only objective is to win this year’s Formula 1 titles.
After taking over at the Scuderia in January from Mattia Binotto following the Italian’s resignation, Frenchman Vasseur has inherited a difficult situation.
On the one hand, Binotto’s exit was a consequence of the unreliability of last year’s car and numerous strategic gaffes that proved highly expensive when it came to a championship challenge.
On the other, given the team finished second in both the constructors’ and drivers’ championships last season, it is obvious that for Vasseur to be considered successful he has to bring home at least one title this year.
There is little margin for error, as recognised by Vasseur.
“When you are at Ferrari, after 2022 when the team finished P2, you can’t have any other objective than to win,” said Vasseur.
“I don’t want to say it will be easy because on the grid you will have Red Bull and Mercedes with exactly the same target.
“Only one team will win the constructors’ and only one driver will win the drivers’ title.
“At the end of the day, we need to have this kind of target, to be in the mindset of doing a better job tomorrow than today, and always trying to improve the system.”
Vasseur biding his time over sweeping reform
To that end, although Vasseur has only been in charge a matter of weeks, he has decided to make changes, with the prospect of more to come once the season is underway.
“As you can imagine it’s short notice before the first race but it is like it is,” remarked former Alfa Romeo team principal Vasseur, who started on January 9.
“I’m using the days to know everybody in the company and to go deeper in detail but it’s short notice, for sure.
“It’s difficult to make big changes in the organisation, so we will make some marginal changes, on the race team operation, and then let’s see after Bahrain, the first couple of races, what we will do.”
Leclerc and Sainz have skills to win title
Leclerc finished 146 points adrift of champion Max Verstappen at the end of last season, whilst team-mate Carlos Sainz was a further 62 off the pace.
Vasseur has reiterated, however, that neither driver will be prioritised this year unless a situation demands.
“They both want to win but the most important is to win with and for Ferrari,” assessed Vasseur.
“We have to be clear in our objective – they both have the talent and the skills to achieve it.
“We will have the capacity to provide exactly the same car to the two drivers.
“For sure, if at one stage during the season, we are competing with another team or other drivers, then we will have to make choices.
“They are perfectly aware of this but so far we have no number one or number two.
“In any case, we don’t win or lose the championship in Bahrain.
“It will be a very long one, and we will have to fight and fight and fight all season.”
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