Vasseur says Monaco F1 GP victory will be an “important” confidence boost for Leclerc

Photo Credits: Scuderia Ferrari HP
Spread the love

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur believes Charles Leclerc’s emotional home win at the 2024 Monaco GP will be “important” to boost the Monegasque’s confidence going forward.

After several failed attempts that date back to his Formula 2 days, Leclerc finally won his home race with a dominant weekend around the streets of Monte Carlo in 2024. He set the fastest time in qualifying in 2021, but did not take the start after his gearbox failed on the laps to the grid. In 2022, he lost the lead from pole after double-stacking with his team-mate Carlos Sainz in ever-changing weather conditions.

And despite being Ferrari team principal since just the start of 2023, Vasseur clearly remembers the many issues that the Monegasque had in his home race over the years, not least his brake failure that led to him crashing into Brendon Hartley in the closing stages of his first ever Monaco F1 race, when Vasseur was in charge of the Swiss squad:

“I think it was an important one. He had this weight in his shoulders for a couple of years, about the win in Monaco,” said Vasseur. “Sometimes he made small mistakes like in F2 [in 2017], sometimes he was unlucky like in F1 with me at Alfa Romeo with a brake failure, and in the end he was a bit under pressure [to deliver this result].

“But it’s not just about Monaco. I think for his self-confidence and the effort he has made over the years.”

The Frenchman also pointed out how Leclerc was “nervous” heading into the Monaco race in 2023- their first together at Ferrari – feeling the pressure of having to deliver after two successive failed attempts, and how that changed dramatically as he arrived “relaxed” for this weekend’s race:

“Last year I think he was a bit nervous, from the beginning of the weekend he was a bit under pressure,” said Vasseur. “This year, he was much more relaxed from the beginning. From lap one in FP1, he did a fantastic weekend.

“Even when we had the issue in Q1 with the plastic bag in his front wing, we lost two laps in a row due to that, and he was able to stay very calm, even though he could’ve been out in Q1. And he was very in control from the beginning.”

Speaking about the huge management required during the race, Vasseur admitted it was a “frustrating” race for his drivers, having to run over three seconds off the ultimate pace in order to save tyres and manage the strategic advantage of having track position over the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri:

“We knew after the red flag that we had to 76 laps with one set of tyres, so we asked him to slow down and he was three or four seconds off the pace at that stage.

“He was always able to manage the situation, and Carlos [Sainz] did the same – and with Carlos it was even more difficult, because we asked him to stay not too far off [Oscar] Piastri to cover him in case of a safety car, but also to slow down [Lando] Norris, so it was more controlling the race than pushing, so it was frustrating for them.”

After a difficult start to season  with some qualifying issues which meant Leclerc couldn’t pounce at Australia and instead had to watch his team-mate take the victory as Red Bull faultered, the Monegasque has bounced back in recent races – and his team boss believes the long-awaited win in Monaco will only be a boost to his ever-growing confidence in himself and in the car for the rest of the season:

“This one will help him a lot for sure in terms of confidence. One of the characteristics of the winners is that they are used to win at one stage, and they have the confidence to manage the situation, and they have the confidence that when it happens next time, they’ll be able to manage.

“When you are in doubt, it’s a bit different, and I think [after winning] this one, it will help him a lot for sure.”