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No Ferrari number one driver, but Vasseur won't hesitate to "take action"

New Ferrari Formula 1 boss Fred Vasseur says there will be no number one driver at the team this season, but he won't hesitate to "take action" if needed.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both won races for Ferrari last year, but it was Leclerc who finished second in the championship, 62 points clear of Sainz, who admitted he struggled to adapt to the Ferrari F1-75 car as quickly as his team-mate.

Talk of team orders between Leclerc and Sainz emerged as early as round four at Imola last season after Leclerc forged an early lead at the top of the championship by winning two of the first three races. But Ferrari maintained that it never looked to throw its efforts behind a single driver.

Vasseur took over at Ferrari earlier this month, and previously worked with Leclerc during the Monegasque's rookie F1 season at Sauber in 2018.

Speaking on Thursday in his first media briefing since becoming team principal, Vasseur made clear that Ferrari would not enter the season with a designated number one driver, but added he would intervene with team orders if needed.

"We have two very good drivers, both of them are able to do the job," said Vasseur.

"We will have the capacity to provide them exactly the same car and the same structure and the same support. What is clear that the target is to win with Ferrari and for Ferrari.

"There will be no number one or number two. But if at one stage, we have to take action, I will take action.

"It doesn't matter if it's for one or the other, but if at one stage of the season I have to do something, I will do it."

Frédéric Vasseur, Ferrari

Frédéric Vasseur, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

New Leclerc contract 'not a priority' for Vasseur

While both Leclerc and Sainz are under contract at Ferrari until the end of the 2024 season, Leclerc's future is expected to be a talking point following Vasseur's arrival.

Leclerc has been the leading performer at Ferrari in each of his four seasons at the team, and looked set to mount a challenge for the championship last year after his strong start.

Leclerc ended the year with more pole positions than any other driver, only for his title bid to fade as Ferrari struggled to keep up with Red Bull's race pace, as well as being hindered by poor reliability and some strategy errors.

But Vasseur said his immediate focus was on the team's on-track performance, not resolving Leclerc's future, noting there was still time to run on his existing deal.

"I don't want to put this topic on the table today, I think it wouldn't be a good way to start the collaboration," said Vasseur.

"We have to be focused on the sporting side, to get results. And it's like for the wedding, if both sides of the table are happy with the situation, that we will continue.

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"But I think it's not the priority today. We have a good relationship. And we'll have time to discuss about this.

"First, I think the only topic today, we have to be focused on pure performance and to get results."

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