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Ferrari pair to have parity


New Ferrari boss, Frederic Vasseur insists that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will have equal status.

While giving the traditional battle-cry that winning the title is his team's only objective this season, Vasseur believes a significant key to this is to not have his drivers fighting one another.

"This is a clear situation," said Vasseur in his first meeting with the press since taking the reins at Maranello. "I think it's the same everywhere.

"We have two very good drivers that are able to do the job," he continued. "We will have the capacity to provide them with exactly the same car, the same structure and the same support."

His words come at a time of reported unrest between Red Bull's two drivers and speculation over how long before Mercedes has to let George Russell off the leash at Mercedes.

"What is clear is that the target is to win with Ferrari and for Ferrari," he insisted. "There will be no number one and number two.

"But if at one stage we have to take action, I will take action. It doesn't matter if it's for one or the other? But if at one stage in the season I have to do something, I will do it.

"It's not a matter to take a decision in June or September... you have to take action in the season when it's obvious that one will be in a much better position than the other and not before. It could be two races before the end or before."

2023 marks the final year in Leclerc's current contract, and Vasseur, who worked with the youngster at Alfa Romeo in his maiden season, will be keen to keep the Monegasque on board. However, he insists, that is a discussion for later in the year.

"We have still a couple of months of contract with Charles in front of us," he said. "But I don't want to put this topic on the table today. I think it wouldn't be a good way to start the collaboration.

"We have to be focussed on the sporting side to get results. It's like for a wedding, if both sides of the table are happy with the situation, we will continue.

"It's not the priority today, we have a good relationship and we'll have time to discuss about this. But first and I think the only topic today is that we have to be focussed on pure performance and to get results.

Despite having worked with Leclerc at Alfa, Vasseur was keen to dismiss any talk of 'favouritism', admitting that he has long rated Sainz.

"I started the discussion with Carlos and Carlos' management when I was at Renault, to attract him and to sign the contract for '17, or something like this," he said. "Then he joined a bit later, when I was at Sauber.

"I tried to sign Carlos again without success. I said, ‘okay, if I want to attract Carlos, the best way is to join the team where he is," he joked. "We had always a very good relationship. I trust him and I think he showed a couple of years that he's a potential winner. That is very important for the team. And again, on this one, we won't have a number one and a number two."

Despite a strong start to last season, the Italian team's challenge subsequently fell away, a combination of reliability, poor strategy and driver errors.

Despite the obvious strength of Red Bull and the anticipated revival at Mercedes, Vasseur insists that there is only one aim.

"When you are a top team, you can't have another target than the win," he said. You can't start the season saying 'OK I will be happy with P2'. It would be a lack of ambition and I think we have everything to do a good job and the target has to be to win, for sure."

While Ferrari's ultimate failure led to the departure of Mattia Binotto, Vasseur feels it would be "arrogant" at this time to carry out any significant changes in terms of the personnel at Maranello.

"We have discussions to try to understand how we could improve the system, what could be the weakness of the system and to try to do a better job," he said.

"But it's more continuous improvement than big steps or big changes that from my point of view wouldn't make sense," he added. "I trust the guys in place and will try to do the best for them also and to put them in the best conditions to do the job. Then it will be time after a couple of weeks or months to take action if it's not working, but I trust them."


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1. Posted by kenji, 02/02/2023 0:16

"I know that it won't happen but I'd love to see team orders totally excluded from racing. Results are always a sham once team orders are introduced. They should be renamed and recognised as 'race result fixing'. If, as is claimed, that F1 is a team sport then that should be upheld from start to finish with any transgressions resulting in disqualification. WEC recognises team championships as equal amongst all individual team members. Olympic swimming relay team members all receive a gold medal as should F1 team drivers at the end of the season. By doing this the series does away, to a large extent, with the 'driver cult' enterprise that exists today."

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2. Posted by @R1Racing71, 01/02/2023 21:54

"In the words of the great James Hunt, “…and all I can say to that is bull sh!t”"

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3. Posted by equator180, 28/01/2023 6:52

"Good luck with that. Seeing will be believing."

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