Charles Leclerc dismisses Frederic Vasseur rumour

Charles Leclerc was given his F1 debut by Frederic Vasseur at Alfa Romeo in 2018.

Mattia Binotto’s days at Ferrari are quickly coming to an end, with the Italian set to depart the Scuderia on the final day of 2022, before his replacement starts in January.

Binotto has devoted a large part of his life to the Maranello-based side, whom he’s called ‘home’ for the past 28 years.

The outgoing Ferrari team principal initially joined the team in 1995 as an intern, before working his way through the ranks.

His move from technical director to team principal four years ago surprised many, given that Binotto is referred to as one of the best technical directors in the sport.

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It is likely that he’ll be returning to this role elsewhere, with Audi already rumoured to being “in talks” with the Ferrari man.

As team principal, Binotto has endured a fair share, with him having led the team ultimately away from the front and into the midfield.

Prior to 2022, Binotto was lucky not to be sacked given just how far Ferrari fell, but they certainly returned with a bang this season, sometimes quite literally.

Power unit failures, strategic blunders, and driver errors ultimately saw Ferrari fail to claim either title, with this season having been their best chance for a number of years of winning a World Championship.

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Binotto has come to the decision that the team perhaps need a new leader to claim a first title since 2008, something which remains to be seen.

Charles Leclerc was asked for his thoughts on Binotto’s resignation at the FIA prize-giving gala, where he was collecting the trophy for Vice-Champion.

“Mattia called me to announce that he would stop. I respect his decision and I can only thank him,” Leclerc said at the FIA prize-giving gala in Bologna, Italy.

“Obviously, he has believed in me right from the start. He extended my stay with a very long contract and before being team principal, he was also inside the Scuderia for many years and he has contributed to the success that the team has had in the past years.

“I wish him the best and obviously, now it is up to us to focus on the future, to try and take the right choices in order to be a bit more of a challenge to Red Bull next year.”

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur is the favourite to claim the role for 2023, which would see Leclerc reunited with the man who gave him his debut season in 2018.

Leclerc was asked, though, if he has a shortlist for who he wants to take on the role, with the likes of Andreas Seidl and Christian Horner having been linked.

The 24-year-old admitted, however, that he doesn’t have a preference or a say over who the team sign, with that role purely belonging to the most senior Ferrari figures.

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“No, and I won’t comment on that,” Leclerc said.

“And obviously, it is not my decision. [Ferrari chairman] John [Elkann] and [CEO] Benedetto [Vigna] are going to take the decision.

“We are just trying to focus on our job in the simulator with the team in order to have the best race car possible for next year.”