Vasseur was “not too stressed” despite “emotional” first win as Ferrari boss

Formula 1

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It took 159 attempts for Frederic Vasseur to oversee a win in a Formula 1 race as a team principal. Having moved to Ferrari at the start of the year, he took his first win in charge courtesy of Carlos Sainz Jnr in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Sainz had to hold off three other cars in the last stint of the race to win, with the pressure intensifying in the last laps. But Vasseur, who joined Ferrari nine months ago, was not worried.

“Honestly, it was a strange feeling for me on the pit wall because I was not too much stressed the last couple of laps,” said Vasseur, who was confident that “Carlos was really under control of the situation.”

Vasseur enjoyed the spoils of victory on the podium with his driver, as Ferrari reached the top step for the first time in 14 months. But his thoughts returned to the team’s difficult start to their first season under him.

“For sure on the podium it’s a bit emotional because it was the first one,” he said. “But at this stage I was more thinking about what we did from Jeddah.

“Jeddah was a tough weekend for us and we had a very good recovery after Jeddah. Good team work. I think we built up step-by-step the confidence and the pace and I’m more than proud for the job done by the factory and the team guys.”

Vasseur said gains made in the last two rounds, at very different tracks, were key to Ferrari’s strong Singapore weekend.

“I think it’s also linked to the fact that we had a good weekend in Monza from lap one of FP1. We built up the confidence also in Monza, and Singapore is also the consequence of this one.

“The fact that Carlos [was] so quick at the beginning of the weekend was also very helpful to us, and he did a very good job from the first lap to the last one, and really the last one.”

The team made a breakthrough with its set-up in the first race back after the summer break, said Vasseur. “It’s probably in Zandvoort where probably we unlocked something on the understanding of the set-up, and we build up the pace at Monza. Part of this in Zandvoort, and probably a large part of the pace on this weekend.”

But he believes the team’s Singapore win is more important for morale than what they learned about their car. “For sure this will help for the future. It’s a better understanding of the car, better understanding of the set-up of the car.

“But I would say that mainly it’s a step forward in terms of confidence in everybody, that for everybody this is the best way to prepare the future.”

Sainz qualified sixth and finished fifth at Zandvoort, followed that with pole position and third place in the race at Monza, then took another step with his Singapore result in an expertly managed race from the front. Vasseur praised the “clever move from Carlos to keep Norris into the DRS” in the last few laps as well as “a very good step forward” Sainz has recently made in his preparation for race weekends. “He was ready from lap one of FP1,” said Vasseur.

Although Ferrari ended Red Bull’s unbeaten 2023 run last weekend, Vasseur wants his team to remain focused on beating the teams behind Red Bull. “For me, the most important is to do our weekend a bit quicker than Mercedes and the others,” he said.

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2023 Singapore Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Vasseur was “not too stressed” despite “emotional” first win as Ferrari boss”

  1. Too bad the win didn’t come at Monza. That would have been special.

    1. True, nothing beats Monza in that sense. But East-Asia accounts for almost a third of Ferrari’s global sales, and without a race in China, Singapore is also a great place to win for them.

      Next year will be much more telling of Vasseur’s leadership, given he was only brought on board after Abu Dhabi last year and didn’t have much say over the car development. So far there have been a bunch of good replacements, although fewer than I had expected (I’m particularly surprised that Leclerc’s engineer Xavi is still there), but there’s still room for improvement. If they want to take the fight to Red Bull, they need every part of their operation to run smoothly.

      1. From a commercial aspect I would think winning in one of the upcoming US races would be key as well. Forza Ferrari!!

  2. That was a really fun race to watch! Seeing an end to the Red Bull dominance was rewarding, even if there was a part of me that wanted to see RB making history just for the sake of making history. Now, Sainz victory for me was 100% his doing. Ferrari strategies are always so bad that they manage to mess having both of their drivers in good positions due to bad pit stop management. In fact, when you watch the highlights of the Singapore GP through Carlos POV you can see how not even his own strategist knows when he is doing some smart moves, like keeping Norris inside the DRS zone, Carlos is a great driver but unfortunately Ferrari holds him back a lot. (And the same is valid for Leclerc)

    1. Team and driver worked well together in Sing, just for once!

  3. I don’t understand this: “It took 159 attempts for Frederic Vasseur to oversee a win in a Formula 1 race as a team principal.”
    He’s only been TP for less than a year hasn’t he, what am I missing?

    1. He was previously TP elsewhere….

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