Charles Leclerc addresses Ferrari boss’ leadership

Charles Leclerc has backed his team principal, Fred Vasseur, despite the team experiencing a challenging outing in 2023.

Charles Leclerc has commended the pragmatic leadership style of Fred Vasseur, who assumed the role of team principal at Ferrari earlier this year. 

Vasseur’s unflappable approach is viewed as a crucial counterbalance to the passionate and emotional environment that characterises the Italian team.

At the onset of the season, Vasseur succeeded the former team boss, Mattia Binotto, with the substantial responsibility of guiding Ferrari back to the forefront of Formula 1. 

Vasseur is renowned for his no-nonsense and detail-oriented management style, along with a wealth of experience that he brings to the storied Maranello-based team.

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While Ferrari has faced a formidable challenge from Red Bull Racing this season, recent performances have shown signs of resurgence, notably with Carlos Sainz’s victory in Singapore last month. 

Leclerc believes that Vasseur’s emotionally steady leadership style has played a pivotal role in fostering a balanced and productive atmosphere at Ferrari, contributing to the team’s improved performance.

Leclerc expressed his thoughts on Vasseur’s leadership style during the recent Qatar Grand Prix, emphasising:

“Fred is super flat emotionally, which I think is really good in the position he is in because it gives us that a little bit.”

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He further elaborated on the unique blend of passion and pragmatism at Ferrari, stating, “I think as an Italian team, and as Ferrari, this is what I love most about Ferrari is the emotions that we feel. 

“Whenever we are at highs and how passionate the people are, but to have this balance with Fred I think is also really good.”

Leclerc highlighted Vasseur’s ability to maintain a clear vision, regardless of the team’s performance, noting, “To have the clear vision when things are going wrong, and also, when things are going very strong [and say] ‘But that’s not it, we still need to work very hard,’ I think we kind of already had that philosophy.”

Leclerc also acknowledged the strengthening of this philosophy under Vasseur’s leadership, asserting, “But I think Fred has strengthened it, and that’s really good.”

The prevailing sentiment at Ferrari has undergone a transformation since last summer, with Vasseur’s leadership style prevailing over suggestions of an ‘iron fist’ approach similar to the era of Jean Todt. 

Vasseur’s preference for allowing team members a degree of autonomy has proven effective in today’s Formula 1 landscape.

Vasseur elaborated on his approach, stating, “Iron fist is not my way, and times have changed. People’s psychological approach is different. 

“We need a more inclusive approach that makes everyone participate in a winning project.”

This approach gradually gained traction within the team, leading to improvements over the summer following a concept change in Barcelona in June. 

Engineers at the Scuderia began to gain a deeper understanding of their machine, enabling them to consistently extract maximum performance from the car.

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Leclerc confirmed the progress, saying, “Definitely the understanding that we had in Zandvoort, especially to have that confirmed in Monza with very different characteristics at a very different track. 

That helped us to basically extract the maximum out of the car more consistently, whereas at the beginning of the year, the car was very different from one weekend to the other – so on that we improved a lot.”

With five races remaining in the 2023 season and the upcoming US Grand Prix, Ferrari currently holds the third position in the Formula 1 Constructors’ standings, trailing Mercedes by 28 points but leading Aston Martin by 68 points.