New Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has revealed that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will both be treated “exactly the same” in 2023, something the Frenchman has made “crystal clear” to the duo.
Ferrari’s strategy was something that was questioned several times in 2022, with Leclerc and Sainz having been treated as equals, even though, only the Monegasque was in the title fight.
Interestingly, whilst the pair will be treated as equals at the start of the upcoming season, Vasseur has admitted that should one driver perform better than the other, then “action” will be taken.
“The target of the team is to win – with Ferrari and for Ferrari, this is the policy of the team,” Vasseur told Sky Italy.
“I already spoke with the drivers about this. It’s crystal clear that we’ll give them exactly the same treatment and we’ll support both of them in the same way.
“For sure, if at one stage during the season, one is in a much better place to fight for the championship, we’ll have to take action, but it’s not that one will be the number one from the beginning of the season.
“This can’t work because you never know what will happen, and we have to do the best for the team, not for the drivers.”
The winter has reportedly been an excellent one for the Maranello-based team, with the Italians having supposedly fixed the reliability issues that tormented their power unit last season, costing Leclerc in particular at least one victory.
By fixing the issues, Ferrari have supposedly found an additional 30hp from their power unit, something which could see them replicate their strong start to 2022, where Leclerc won two of the opening three races.
Whilst it seems like Ferrari are in an incredibly strong place heading into the season, Vasseur isn’t getting too excited just yet, with the Frenchman wanting to see how the team’s 2023 challenger performs at the pre-season test in Bahrain.
“This, we will have to wait for Bahrain. Even the test in Bahrain might not be super relevant for performance,” added Vasseur.
“Reliability is key – it’s key for the test because you have to do a lot of mileage in three days. We have only one test this year.
“It means that you have to arrive in Bahrain with reliability, or it could be much more difficult. Then we’ll see during the season about reliability, but it looks to be so far under control.
“Then performance, I think that everybody will do some sand-bagging in the first test to distort the level of performance, but let’s see.”
So, with the drivers to be treated as equals until one starts to dominate, and with their reliability issues supposedly fixed, that just leaves one area for Vasseur to address ahead of the new season, strategies.
Ferrari’s strategic planning last season was woeful and arguably allowed Red Bull to cruise to the Constructors’ Championship, with Leclerc again having lost several potential victories through Ferrari’s strategic errors.
It appears, though, that Vasseur is set to see how the team perform on their own before implementing any adjustments, with the former Alfa Romeo boss having admitted that “big changes” won’t be made until slightly later in the season.
“On what I can bring to the team, we’re at a really early stage,” Vasseur said.
“I spent the last 32 years of my life on the pit wall, and I will try to bring this kind of expertise to them.
“I’m not better than all the employees on their own job, but my job is to give them the best condition to do their job in the best way, and to get the best from everybody. But the group of people is a very good one.
“Don’t have to expect big changes to the team the next couple of weeks or even during the first couple of races. I will try to do my best and sometimes small details can make the difference and I will try to put everything together.”