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Leclerc thought Vasseur would need more time to change Ferrari

Charles Leclerc says he thought Ferrari Formula 1 boss Fred Vasseur would have needed more time to enact his vision and change the team after taking the top job.

Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Former Renault and Sauber F1 team principal Vasseur took control of the Scuderia in December 2022, when he was named as the replacement for Mattia Binotto.

During his tenure, Vasseur has confirmed Enrico Cardile as Ferrari’s new technical director, replaced Laurent Mekies as racing director and, most notably, lured seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton away from Mercedes to join the famous squad from 2025.

OPINION: The risks in Hamilton’s Ferrari F1 move

Given Vasseur has been ringing out the changes, Leclerc says it has taken less time than expected for the new boss to understand how the team functions before stamping his own identity.

Asked about how much Ferrari has changed under Vasseur, Leclerc replied: “A lot. When Fred arrived, I was expecting him to take a bit of time before actually setting up in this new position.

“It’s a huge team with so much history – there are things that are being done exactly the same way since 15 to 20 years. So, when you get there, you need to understand how people work, the Italian people, and just the way that a team like Ferrari works.

“I think Fred understood very, very quickly, and put his vision into the team very quickly, and has very clear ideas on what he wants to achieve and how to achieve those things.”

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Erik Junius

Vasseur, who ran the ART Grand Prix team with which Hamilton won the GP2 Series crown in 2006, also enjoys a long-standing relationship with Leclerc.

The Monegasque raced for Vasseur’s ART concern on his way to the GP2 Series title spoils in 2016 before reuniting with him at Sauber upon his 2018 graduation to F1.

Leclerc added that this rapport allowed the pair to enjoy an honest working relationship and that he was “fully aligned” with Vasseur’s plan to bring about success.

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He continued: “Obviously, I have a very good relationship with Fred and we've always been very open in the way we wanted to confront things and in the way we wanted to approach this new way of working.

“I'm fully aligned with the vision that Fred has for the team medium-, long-term. This has also been part of my discussions when I wanted to renew that contract.

“As much as I'm in love with Ferrari and I think everybody knows that, it was important for me to be re-signing in a team that I trust. And that definitely was the case.”

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