Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur has adapted to life at the Scuderia, having taken over as team principal for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
Vasseur has taken over from Mattia Binotto as Ferrari’s team principal for 2023, following Binotto’s resignation after the team’s 2022 title fight fell apart.
The former Alfa Romeo boss started working at Maranello this month, integrated himself with the team and attended Ferrari’s ‘wake-up’ test at Fiorano, where drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz shook off their winter cobwebs by driving a 2021 SF21 around to save Fiorano.
Earlier this week, Vasseur held his first press conference as Ferrari team boss, revealing the initial challenges he faced as he adjusted to life as boss of the most illustrious Formula 1 team.
“It’s going well so far,” he told the official Ferrari website.
“It’s quite intense, as you can imagine, because we had a very short window between early January and the first track test.
“I need to get up to speed and do the work, but so far it’s going well.”
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Vasseur, who moves from the Alfa Romeo team he has led since mid-2017, said the most important aspect of his first weeks in his new role was getting to know as many people as possible. the short winter break before F1 activities resume.
“The most important [thing] for me the goal in the first few weeks is to get to know the people,” he said.
“I find it very important in my position to know as many people as possible, to have a one-on-one with them and to talk to them more about themselves and myself and about the organization.
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“I want to get to know the individual. I’ve done a lot already, but there are still some guys to meet. I think everyone is very focused very committed that we know it’s the new season same story that we can’t wait for the launch of the car and the first test 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 completely different driver dynamic when switching to Ferrari. While the driver duo he dealt with, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, have a cooperative mentor/student-like relationship and are unlikely to challenge for positions outside of upper midfield with their current machines, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have an amicable but tense relationship due to their mutual desire to lead Ferrari to victories and the title.
Vasseur has already worked closely with Leclerc since the Monegask made his F1 debut with the team in 2018, but Vasseur said he already knows both drivers well enough that he understands how to handle them – the team boss has already said he no intentions to outline driver roles for Sainz or Leclerc to start 2023.
“We had a really long conversation 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 thought about last season, that we have the advantage and I have the advantage today that we keep the same line-up.
“I think it is also much easier for me to understand the situation exactly. Because I know both of them quite well, the integration was also much faster.”