“He doesn’t care about outside talk”: Leclerc sees progress at Ferrari under Vasseur

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Charles Leclerc is “fully on board” with Frederic Vasseur’s vision for Ferrari as the team principal begins his second season in charge.

Vasseur took over at Ferrari following the departure of his predecessor Mattia Binotto at the end of the 2022 season.

Over Vasseur’s first season with Ferrari, the team dropped one position in the championship from second in 2022 to third behind rivals Mercedes. However, the two teams were separated by just three points and Ferrari were the only team other than champions Red Bull to win a grand prix last season, courtesy of Carlos Sainz Jnr’s triumph in Singapore.

Leclerc, who went win-less over the season for the third time in his five years at Ferrari, said that he has confidence in Vasseur’s plan for the team.

“With Fred, I obviously have a lot of discussions,” Leclerc told media including RaceFans.

“I’m completely on board with the long-term and mid-term vision that he has for the team. That also gave me the confidence in believing in the project for the future.”

The new SF-24 will be the first Ferrari designed and built under Vasseur’s leadership. Leclerc says the team principal’s influence can be felt more in how he approaches his leadership of the team.

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“To go into the specifics of exactly how things changed is more difficult, because it’s just a different way of working with Fred,” Leclerc explained. “There are so many particularities that are different.”

Leclerc, who previously drove for Vasseur at Sauber in 2018, was reluctant to compare his style of leadership to Binotto’s. He characterised Vasseur as being “very, very clear in what he wants to achieve and in the directions he gives to the team, which I think is a good thing.

“Without going into a comparison of the past and now, I think one really good thing about Fred is that he doesn’t really care about the outside talk around the team. He’s very much focused on what needs to be done within the team. He’s very straight to the point and I think that is a strength of Fred’s. I really like this way of working.”

Following a disappointing 2023 campaign in which Ferrari failed to consistently challenge Red Bull, Leclerc says the team have reason to feel more optimistic heading into the new season due to the progress they made in the second half of last year.

“I’ve felt this feeling for six months already,” he said. “Six months ago, since we started that second part of the season, there was a really big motivation from the whole team.

“I remember very clearly the moment we ran our particular test in Zandvoort in the free practices, we came back from Zandvoort and we all sat down and we had very clear results in front of our eyes.

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“That gave a huge motivation to the team because we were like, ‘okay, so now we understand what are the weak points of the car, where we need to work, which direction we need to take’. And from that moment onwards, everybody has been fully on board with the directions that we have been taking. Everything made sense.

“After three or four races we brought a new floor in Japan and straight away it was a step forward. In terms of sensitivities with the wind, but also in terms of the front, I speak very often about wanting a strong front and that was a step forward as well.”

Leclerc is hopeful that Ferrari can get a strong start to the new season thanks to the work they have done over the last year with Vasseur leading the team.

“I really hope that this car can follow up the momentum that we’ve had since the second part of last year,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s a new optimism right now – I think it already started six months ago – but it’s a good thing to see and it’s exciting for the future.”

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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