Vasseur: “Positive competition” between Sainz and Leclerc “helping us to improve”

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Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media

Speaking after the Japanese Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari team principal Frédéric Vasseur spoke about the rivalry between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. According to him, a positive competition which, in fact, is helping the Maranello team to maximise the results at each race weekend and improve its general performance level.

Since the resumption of the championship, after the summer break, Scuderia Ferrari seems to have made important steps forward compared to the first part of the season. In fact, the SF-23, equipped with the last developments expected for the season, was able to perform excellently in Monza, achieve winning success in Singapore and a decent placing in Suzuka which, on paper, was probably the worst track for the characteristics of the car.

Steps forward which, objectively, also corresponded to important improvements in the competitiveness levels of the two drivers who, from Zandvoort onwards, began to find themselves more and more often at the same level and to push each other to do better and better.

A competition, sometimes full of duels, which as mentioned is leading Leclerc and Sainz to push themselves to the limit and get more out of each other, thus creating a positive competition that helps Ferrari to maximize the result every weekend and improve its level of performance. Competition which, recently, saw Sainz get the better of Leclerc for the podium at Monza (after having achieved pole), then winning the following race in Singapore, with Leclerc then immediately reacting with a good fourth place in qualifying and the race in Japan.

It was recently analysed by the Scuderia Ferrari team principal, Fréd Vasseur, who underlined how much the healthy rivalry between the two drivers and the updates have helped the team to achieve steps forward in the last few races.

“We have to avoid coming to conclusions too quickly. Before the break in Spa we were also in good shape, Charles started from pole position – qualified on the first row – and did a good race. As it’s a matter of hundreds of seconds, sometimes you do a small step and you have the feeling that everything has changed but it’s not exactly the reality. But it’s a sport and in the end we can accept that one is doing a better job than the other from weekend to weekend. I think that we have a positive competition and this is also helping us to improve.”

Rivalry between drivers which, inevitably, is also supported by an SF-23 which has made some steps forward in recent months, especially in tyre management: the Achilles’ heel in the first phase of the world championship. Not only that, because according to the team boss, race and strategy management have also undergone a tangible improvement.

“It’s a step forward compared to the beginning of the season but on the other hand we were probably a bit too conservative (at Suzuka). I think it was true of everybody on the grid but we were more scared than the reality. But it was okay, it was under control in the race and I think it’s been a good step forward in this regard. If you have a look at the first couple of races of the season, the degradation or the tire management was not always our biggest skill. Coming to Suzuka with the track times we were a bit anxious but I think at the end of the day we did a good job on this side. The race was under control, the strategy was well managed and we did well. It’s a clear step forward compared to the first part of the season.”.