Frederic Vasseur: ‘I will fight like hell with Toto’

Ferrari claimed just four race victories in 2022 despite Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz having started on pole 12 times between them.

New Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur is seemingly fired up and ready to go for 2023, with the Frenchman prepared to “fight like hell” against Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff.

Vasseur’s switch to Ferrari comes after Mattia Binotto resigned from the role following the conclusion of last season, with Vasseur having left Alfa Romeo to take up the Italian’s job.

It appears that the Frenchman is taking no prisoners ahead of the forthcoming season and has reportedly stopped talking to Wolff following his switch to Maranello, according to SportsMole.

Whilst Vasseur is ready to do battle with Wolff and Mercedes on-track in the forthcoming season, he is prepared to continue fighting with the Austrian “for the greater good” of the sport, with F1’s relationship with the FIA being at a particular low-point currently.

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“We will fight on the track, we will argue in front of the race management and the FIA, and also on the Concorde Agreement,” Vasseur said.

“But for the greater good, it’s an excellent advantage that there is collaboration between the teams. I have a good relationship with almost all my colleagues which I think is always a good thing.

“But then be sure I will fight like hell with Toto out on the track.”

Ferrari and Mercedes were incredibly close on-track come the end of 2022, with the Italians having fallen backwards, whilst the Germans moved forwards.

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The two teams had completely opposite seasons, with Ferrari having started strongly, before getting increasingly weaker as the season went on, whilst Mercedes started badly and continued to get better as the year developed.

This isn’t expected to happen in 2023, with both having been predicted to be at the front from the get-go, alongside Red Bull.

Former Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor is expecting a much closer season and has predicted that Ferrari will win “six” races, but that Mercedes too will be right amongst the frontrunners.

“As far as how [Ferrari] will go in 2023, I’m not sure that is in the hands of either Charles Leclerc or Freddy Vasseur,” Windsor said.

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“It’s in the hands, ultimately, of the technical team. No matter how much the new coach can say, ‘we’ve all got to work hard, we’ve got to focus on this, we’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do that’, ultimately it comes down to talent and it comes down to brainpower.

“So I think it’ll be more competitive. I don’t imagine in a million years that Ferrari will have a better car race in, race out than Red Bull, but I think it’ll be a car that will be quite capable of winning races certainly.

“How many races? I would guess six, maybe Sainz will win a couple of those. But I’d be surprised if they win more than six because I think Mercedes is going to win races as well, more races. So I think they’ll have a pretty good year and it’ll be fun to watch.”