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Formula 1 Australian GP

Ferrari F1 boss Vasseur has "no doubt" about Leclerc's motivation

Ferrari Formula 1 boss Fred Vasseur says he has "no doubt" about Charles Leclerc's motivation despite a poor start to the season for the Monegasque driver.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

Last season, after three races Leclerc led the world championship by a comfortable margin on 71 points, having scored two victories.

This year, after round three he lies 10th with his only score a seventh place in Saudi Arabia, where he had to recover from a grid penalty.

He stopped with an engine issue in Bahrain, and in Australia he retired after first-lap contact with Lance Stroll.

Vasseur insists that despite his understandable frustration, Leclerc is still fully behind the team.

"I have absolutely no doubt about the motivation of Charles," he said.

"For sure the start of the season is not ideal at all. We had the DNF in Bahrain and then the penalty in Jeddah, and the DNF in Melbourne.

"It was not the at all the plan. But the motivation is still there. You know that I have a good relationship with Charles. And this won't affect the mood.

"But when you are jumping on Charles or Carlos or any other drivers in the TV pen 30 seconds after the race, for sure they can't be happy.

"And I would be very frustrated if they were relaxed and happy with the situation. The most important for me to keep everybody motivated, pushing in the same direction and they are supporting the team. Carlos was there [last] week in the simulator and Charles will be there [this] week.

"The motivation is not an issue at all. For sure the results are not as expected. But we all know that."

The retired car of Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

The retired car of Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Lionel Ng / Motorsport Images

After qualifying in Australia there was some tension in the camp, with Leclerc blaming a lack of communication after he had to pass a touring Sainz on his final lap in Q3 on his way to seventh on the grid.

Vasseur says he talked with both men about the disappointing session and stressed that their frustration was a positive.

"As you can imagine, I spoke a lot with them," said the Frenchman. "As I said when you're jumping on the drivers in the TV pen and they had a poor session or poor quali or poor race, they are always frustrated.

"And this frustration is positive for me, because I would be disappointed if it was not the case.

"And then on the story of the position of the car, it was a very late call, more opportunist than something like this, and was not easy to do. I assume the responsibility of this, it's not the drivers.

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"But we had a long discussion for this and for the rest of the quali because I think that it's not just this, and we didn't do a good job as a team all together on the preparation and so on, and we had the potential to do much better.

"I think Charles felt it also, and the frustrations came to this point."

Asked if there was interference from above given the poor start to the season, Vasseur insisted that the team has a good relationship with Ferrari's top executives, chairman John Elkann and CEO Benedetto Vigna.

"The mood into the team is incredibly good for the level of results that we have," he said. "I think everybody is very motivated, very focused. The drivers, they are very supportive with us.

"And the mood into the team is more than good. If the question was about the relationship with John or with Benedetto, trust me that it's also very positive.

"For sure, we don't have the results that we are expecting, but we are all working together to improve the situation."

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