Leclerc: “Honest” Vasseur “will help me in the long-term”

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Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari has been having an underwhelming start to the 2023 season, with only 100 points to its tally after the first seven races. The poor performance of the Italian factory left them in the fourth position of the Constructor’s championship so far, a worrying result compared to the rapid ascension of Aston Martin and a promising Mercedes package.

The Maranello-based team has been facing a lot of uncertainties, with Laurent Mekies who has been recently announced as Franz Tost’s successor as AlphaTauri team principal, and with Charles Leclerc’s contract getting closer to ending at the end of the 2024 season.

The Monegasque driver has been at the center of many speculations around his future within the team, when asked about Fred Vasseur and his introduction to the team he said:

“I mean, at first, I think it was a very smooth introduction. I mean, he gets into the team, and he doesn’t want to do huge changes. And I think that’s not what we needed. It’s slight changes that goes in the right direction in terms of the way he thinks. And I think the way he puts the targets within the team. I think it’s amazing.”

On the main changes we can expect in the team soon he stated: “I think he’s been very clear that he wants to strengthen the team with new people, which is always important as it gives a different point of view of people that are coming from other teams. And again, there are loads of small changes that at the end makes a difference.”

On their personal relationship he added: “Then with me, we’ve always had an amazing relationship. We’ve been working together in the junior categories and in my first year in Formula 1, so he knows me very, very well. He’s also very honest with me, which is something that I really like, and which I’m sure will help me in the long-term.”

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Leclerc failed to finish in 2 of the opening 3 races, and last time weekend in Spain he had a nightmare of a time with a car that was acting strangely.

When talking about the current situation he is facing within the team he said: “The reality of things is that obviously, it’s a disappointing start of the year for us because we start from a very hopeful season last year where we finished second in the drivers and constructors championship and building the momentum and hopefully fighting for the championship this year. And at the end, we are further away than where we are.”

When asked about the criticism the team has been facing as a whole since their steady decline after a promising 2022 season he stated: “So I think the criticism is a lot around the team at the moment, but we just need, again, to focus on our job, try to improve the car as much as possible, I think, yes. It looks bigger than what it actually is inside the team. But we cannot hide ourselves. Also in the race, we are very far away from Red Bull.”

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

With Mercedes abandoning their zero-pod philosophy and Ferrari steering away from their fish-bowl approach, many questions were raised around whether the rest of the teams will abandon their past plans and adhere to Red Bulls approach, who seem to be in a league of their own with an unprecedented pace ahead of all teams.

When asked about it he added: “There are big steps to do but whether there’s everything to rethink? No, I don’t think it is that bad because in qualifying, we’ve got a good car. In race, we are very far. This we know. And that’s where we are putting our effort on. But I think as a team, that’s where we need to be good at. There are lots of talks lots of noises around the team, but inside it needs to be clear where we need to improve and I think it is, so that’s good.”