Ferrari boss on ‘tough conversations’ with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz

Frederic Vasseur replaced Mattia Binotto after the Italian resigned from the team principal role at the end of 2022.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has insisted that he’ll never hold “tough” conversations in public, with him instead preferring to speak to the Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and the team “face to face”.

Since replacing Mattia Binotto and making the switch to Ferrari from Alfa Romeo, Vasseur has endured a challenging start to life at Maranello.

The first half of Ferrari’s 2023 campaign has been well below expectations, with the side yet to claim a victory.

In the Maranello-based team’s defence, that can be said for every team bar Red Bull, who’ve won every race.

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Ferrari currently find themselves fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, whilst Leclerc is the highest Ferrari driver in the Drivers’ Championship, where the Monegasque occupies fifth.

The Italians haven’t had too much to celebrate this season, with Leclerc being responsible for all three of the side’s podiums.

Leclerc also claimed pole position back at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, both for the main race and the sprint.

It’s an important time for both Leclerc and Sainz given that their contracts expire at the end of next season, meaning some tough conversations will take place soon.

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With Vasseur being a relaxed character, some struggle to see him having serious conversations, resulting in the Frenchman being asked if the atmosphere amongst the team is too friendly.

“You should ask the drivers,” Vasseur told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“You will never see my tough side when I have to say certain things to a member of the team.

“I’m not emotional. I discuss face to face, for me it makes no sense to do these things in public.

“On Monday mornings they hear from me often, but with a precise list of things to do and not in front of reporters for a one-man show that doesn’t help anyone.”

One of the reasons why Binotto left the team at the end of 2022 was because of his reported poor relationship with Ferrari’s president, John Elkann, and the side’s CEO, Benedetto Vigna.

Supposedly, Binotto was given an ultimatum by the duo, resign or be fired.

Despite the disappointing results, Vasseur is yet to receive a similar threat, with him revealing that he actually has a very good relationship with the pair, something he hails as a “huge advantage”.

“Frequent and good,” Vasseur said. “Ferrari is a very famous company but it has a reasonable size.

“At least once a week I have dinner with [CEO Benedetto Vigna] and I hear [president John Elkann] on the phone like an antibiotic, morning, lunch and dinner!

“Having a relationship like this is a huge advantage: if you have to make a decision the process is very fast.

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“When I was at Renault for certain changes you had to wait for the executive committee to meet, days and days went by.

“Here, a problem I ask in the morning, can have an answer in the afternoon.

“I can’t speak for the past, but I was impressed by the internal communication with the top management and their responsiveness.”