Leclerc ‘completely on board’ with Vasseur’s vision at Ferrari

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Charles Leclerc has thrown his full weight behind Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur as they head into the 2024 season, insisting he’s “completely onboard” with the Frenchman’s mid and long-term vision of the future.

Vasseur took the helm at the Prancing Horse last year, inheriting a team fresh off a runner-up finish in F1’s Constructors’ Championship but facing internal struggles.

While the Italian outfit’s 2023 campaign saw them slip to third behind Mercedes, the margin was miniscule – only 3 points – and the Scuderia was the only outfit to inflict a defeat upon the might Red Bull team, thanks to Carlos Sainz’s remarkable victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.

Since his arrival at Maranello, Vasseur has sought to overhaul or improve Ferrari’s engineering department as well as its track operations, including strategy and communication.

Vasseur's experience in fostering close-knit and motivated teams at Sauber/Alfa Romeo has also helped improve the Scuderia’s culture and morale.

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Ultimately, the pressure rests on Ferrari to deliver a championship after years of near misses. But Vasseur's commitment to strategic investments and a long-term vision suggests he's laying the groundwork for sustained championship challenges.

“With Fred, I obviously have a lot of discussions,” Leclerc told the media.

“I’m completely on board with the long-term and mid-term vision that he has for the team. That also gave me the confidence in believing in the project for the future.

“To go into the specifics of exactly how things changed is more difficult, because it’s just a different way of working with Fred.

“There are so many particularities that are different.”

Leclerc was well acquainted with Vasseur he took the reins of Ferrari, having been mentored by the Frenchman during his formative years in the sport and during his maiden season in F1 with Sauber.

The Monegasque was reluctant however to draw a direct comparison between Vasseur and Ferrari’s previous team principal Mattia Binotto.

“Without going into a comparison of the past and now, I think one really good thing about Fred is that he doesn’t really care about the outside talk around the team,” explained the five-time Grand Prix winner.

“He’s very much focused on what needs to be done within the team. He’s very straight to the point and I think that is a strength of Fred’s. I really like this way of working.”

Despite a difficult 2023 season where they couldn't match Red Bull's pace, Leclerc remains optimistic about Ferrari's future. He points to improvements made in the second half of last year as a reason for hope, but acknowledges the need for consistency if they want to truly challenge for the championship.

“I’ve felt this feeling for six months already,” he said. “Six months ago, since we started that second part of the season, there was a really big motivation from the whole team.

“I remember very clearly the moment we ran our particular test in Zandvoort in the free practices, we came back from Zandvoort and we all sat down and we had very clear results in front of our eyes.

“That gave a huge motivation to the team because we were like, ‘okay, so now we understand what are the weak points of the car, where we need to work, which direction we need to take’.

“And from that moment onwards, everybody has been fully on board with the directions that we have been taking. Everything made sense.

“After three or four races we brought a new floor in Japan and straight away it was a step forward. In terms of sensitivities with the wind, but also in terms of the front, I speak very often about wanting a strong front and that was a step forward as well.”

This week, pre-season testing in Bahrain will provide some clear insight into the potential of Ferrari’s SF-24 . But Leclerc has high hopes for his team’s new challenger.

“I really hope that this car can follow up the momentum that we’ve had since the second part of last year,” he said.

“But I don’t think it’s a new optimism right now – I think it already started six months ago – but it’s a good thing to see and it’s exciting for the future.”

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