Charles Leclerc breaks silence on new Ferrari boss’ number one driver policy

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has claimed that both drivers will receive equal treatment in 2023.

Many successful Formula 1 teams choose to operate with a clear number one and number two driver policy, with Red Bull being a prime example of this.

Two-time world champion Max Verstappen receives the more favourable strategies and qualifying runs to aid his title challenge, while Sergio Perez plays second fiddle and helps his teammate where he can.

New Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has typically preferred to operate with this system in his career, with Guanyu Zhou playing the secondary role behind Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo last year.

Having worked with Charles Leclerc during his time with Sauber, it was expected that the Monegasque driver would become Vasseur’s favoured driver, something which the Frenchman has recently denied.

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“The target is to win with Ferrari and for Ferrari. There will be no number one and number two,” he said.

“But if at one stage we have to take action, I will take action and it doesn’t matter if it is for one driver or the other.”

Leclerc addressed Vasseur’s comments at Ferrari’s season launch event earlier this week, claiming that he is fully in support of the team’s plan.

“I agree with this philosophy. It’s important for Carlos [Sainz] and I to be fully motivated and do the best possible job at the start of the season and we have to push each other to perform at our best,” he said.

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“At one point in the season, if one driver is clearly in contention to win the championship, I’m sure the team will do everything possible to ensure that the driver fighting for the title does so I the best possible conditions.

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“The relationship has always been very good. We get along very well, we share a lot of passions also off the track like gold, padel, chess, we have spent a lot of time together and we have a good relationship. Of course, we are very competitive but the competitiveness we have is very healthy.”

Having tasted victory for the first time in F1 last year at Silverstone, Carlos Sainz will be optimistic about his chances of mounting a serious title charge this season.

Ferrari will be hoping that the strong relationship between their two drivers does not break down this season, should a title battle break out within the team.