Ferrari boss clarifies Leclerc comments
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 2nd May, 2023 - 8:05am
Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur has moved to clarify comments he made surrounding Charles Leclerc and his role within the team.
Leclerc’s future has been the subject of intense media scrutiny at this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix following a slow start to 2023.
Heading to Baku he sat 10th in the drivers’ championship with only six points to his name.
That was a result of two DNFs from the first three races; one due to his Ferrari breaking down and another following a racing incident in Australia.
A year ago, Leclerc headed the championship at the same point before Red Bull overhauled the Scuderia as the year wore on.
With that disappointment fresh in mind, plus the sluggish start to the current campaign, speculation surrounding the 25-year-old has been rife.
Ferrari Team principal Vasseur waded into the discussion when asked about suggestions Leclerc had been in contact with Mercedes.
That saw him make remarks that implied he was looking to mould the Prancing Horse around him into the future.
“It’s true in every single team that you are always building a team on the driver,” Vasseur told invited media, including Speedcafe, on Thursday.
“If you ever look over the last 20 years or even more, all the successful constructors in F1 took time, but it was always a team built up around someone.”
He was subsequently asked what role Carlos Sainz played going forward.
“I think that there was a kind of misunderstanding,” Vasseur said.
“The question was about Charles and I said that we have to build up the team around the drivers.
“I didn’t say that we want to build up the team around Charles.
“For me, the drivers are a key pillar of the performance, not just in terms of pure performance, pure driving and performance into the car, but they have to also be somehow key into the development, in the project; midterm and long term.
“I want to have two drivers fully committed and it’s the case with Charles and Carlos.”
Both Leclerc and Sainz have one more year to run on their current contract.
“For now, I am fully focused on the project I am today – which is Ferrari. I fully trust (the team) and I’m confident for the future, then we’ll see,” Leclerc said of his own position.
“Again, I’m fully committed to Ferrari. And I love Ferrari.
“It’s always been a dream for me to be in this team, and my main priority is to win the world championship with the team.”
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