Fred Vasseur reveals key aim of ‘intense’ first two weeks at Ferrari
Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur has been adjusting to life at the Scuderia, having taken over as team boss for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
Vasseur has taken over from Mattia Binotto as Ferrari’s team boss for 2023, following the resignation of Binotto after the team’s 2022 title tilt fell apart.
The former Alfa Romeo boss began working at Maranello this month, integrating himself with the team and attending Ferrari’s ‘wake-up’ test at Fiorano where drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz shook off their winter cobwebs by thrashing a 2021 SF21 around Fiorano.
Earlier this week, Vasseur held his first press conference as Ferrari team boss where he revealed the initial challenges he’s faced as he adjusts to life as boss of Formula 1’s most illustrious team.
“So far so good,” he told the official Ferrari website.
“It’s quite intense as you can imagine, because we had a very short notice between the beginning of January and the first test on track.
“I need to get up to speed and do the job but, so far so good.”
Fred Vasseur: The mood and energy is positive at Ferrari
Moving across from the Alfa Romeo team where he has been in charge since mid-2017, Vasseur said the most critical aspect of his first weeks in his new role has been to get to know as many people as he possibly can – a stern challenge given the short winter break before F1 activities resume once again.
“The most important [thing] for me, the aim in the first couple of weeks is to know the people,” he said.
“I think it’s very important in my position to know the maximum of people, to have a one-to-one with them, and more to discuss with them about themselves and myself and to discuss about the organisation.
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“I want to know the individual. I did already a lot, but there’s still some guys to meet. I think that everybody is very focused, very committed, that we know that it’s the new season, the same story, that we can’t wait for the launch of the car and the first test that we know between the launch and the first test it will be very compressed this season.
“We have to be ready from day one, and the mood is positive, the energy is there and we are all very focused.”
Fred Vasseur: It’s important to understand the drivers
Vasseur also has to deal with a very different driver dynamic upon his switch to Ferrari. While the driver duo he was dealing with, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, have a co-operative mentor/student type relationship and are unlikely to challenge for positions beyond the upper midfield with their current machinery, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have a friendly but tense relationship due to their mutual desire to lead Ferrari to wins and the title.
Vasseur has already worked closely with Leclerc, due to the Monegasque making his F1 debut with the squad in 2018, but Vasseur said he already knows both drivers to the point of understanding how to handle them – the team boss has already said that he has no intentions of outlining driver roles for either Sainz or Leclerc to start off 2023.
“We had a very long chat after the announcement, and I know both of them pretty well,” he said.
“It was important for me to understand their mood, their feeling, and what they were thinking about the last season, that we have the advantage and I have the advantage today that we are keeping the same lineup.
“I think, for me, it’s also much easier to understand the situation exactly. As I know both of them pretty well, the integration was also much quicker.”
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