“Sainz lacks nothing”

He has too much naturalness Frederic Vasseur (France, 58 years old). He laughs out loud at the pressure imposed on Ferrari. He is a man of racing, business and politics in Formula 1, but not pantomime. That’s why, Upon his arrival in Maranello, he was surprised, among other things, by the influence that the Italian media can exert on the morale of its workers. The start of the season scuderia It is bad, with a fourth and a sixth place for Sainz as the best loot and a breakdown by Leclerc at the first change, but Vasseur cannot be singled out: he joined the position of main team on January 9 and inherits everything in the SF-23. He has barely made four or five stitches (how to simplify the strategy area) as he watches the rattle of the team in action, and projects the next steps at the helm of Ferrari.

Fréd shares a lunch with AS and a small selection of Spanish media to talk in a relaxed way, not so much about changes (necessary) or tire degradation (worrying), but about his philosophy at the helm of the most famous team, followed and pressured by the grill. “Many people told me that Ferrari would be difficult to manage internally and that is not entirely true. The atmosphere and collaboration within the team is good, but we have more pressure from outside”. Are you referring to the Italian press? “It’s my job”. Although he is surprised by the rumor mill around the team: “These kinds of comments can affect the morale of the team. They can be affected by this kind of rumors that have nothing to do with reality.

“We have two strong drivers and we have to use him as a resource”

His intention is to take care of Sainz and Leclerc as first swords while they are in a similar situation in the championship. It is not a facade. “I have spent 30 years on the wall with young drivers and in the junior categories there is no first and second driver. They all have the same material. If you can do it in junior categories, I can’t imagine that Ferrari doesn’t have the capacity to provide both drivers with the same material. It would be even harder not to. Then at some point in the season you may have to make a decision. If Carlos fights with Verstappen and you have to slipstream from Monza, and they have a lot of points ahead of the rest, it’s easier to make decisions. We have two drivers who can win races”.

Sainz and Vasseur, on the Ferrari wall during the Bahrain tests.
Sainz and Vasseur, on the Ferrari wall during the Bahrain tests.

It is not a question of equality, but of common sense: “Imagine that now Pérez wins two races and Verstappen retires, a gearbox fails and he receives a penalty for the next one. And after Monaco, Pérez is 100 points ahead of Verstappen. These situations can happen anywhere, we must remember the season of Rosberg and Hamilton (2016). Nobody expected him to win that World Cup and he did. You have to push with both drivers and then the championship situation leads you to make decisions”. “We have two strong drivers who can score points, make podiums and win races. And we have to use it as a resource. We can push fully with both ”, ditch. And in reference to Sainz, he eliminates the debate on whether the SF-23 is doing well, poorly or so-so: “Carlos lacks nothing. We don’t have to start saying if he is missing there or there. Worn one more set of tires in Q2 (from Jeddah) and he had no wild card in Q3. But it’s there, we don’t have to say if the car doesn’t fit or if Carlos is missing something.

“Any savings from each department will go directly to the car”

They have asked him too many times if he is inspired by Jean Todt, compatriot and reference. They have a meal pending. He points out that Ferrari does have a technical director, contrary to what it seemed: “Enrico Cardile, head of the chassis; and Enrico Gualtieri, head of the engine, is the same division as in Mercedes or Renault”. And he admits that there is a department in which the team needs to improve: “But I keep it to myself.” He also urges all employees, including the factory, to participate in the car’s competition: “I try to get the message across that benefits come from everyone, including logistics staff. Because if they can make a minimum saving, they will go directly to the car. Not just aerodynamics and engine. Same with reliability, each employee is part of the reliability goal when they design and produce the part. That is the mentality I want, to convince everyone that they bring benefits.

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