Vasseur on being Ferrari team principal: So far it’s intense

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has revealed he can feel the responsibility of being in charge at Maranello


Frederic Vasseur has admitted his first month-and-a-half as Ferrari team principal has been “intense” after the Scuderia launched their 2023 Formula 1 car.

Vasseur replaced Mattia Binotto as team principal and has been open that he wants to understand why Ferrari made so many mistakes in 2022, which saw their title challenge quickly crumble.

“So far it’s intense!” said Vasseur. “We can feel the responsibility. For the team, it’s a great honour but at the end of the day the most important [thing] is to be successful and deliver.

“I don’t want to be very happy because I’m at Ferrari. The most important thing is to win and the challenge is in front of us.”

Asked who he would like to see win Ferrari‘s first race of 2023, Vasseur answered: “I don’t care. The most important [thing] is to have Ferrari first.

“We will push for both drivers in the same way and see what happens in Bahrain.”

Since the start of 2022, F1 have implemented an engine freeze which means the teams cannot improve the performance of their power unit itself for the next three seasons.

But, the packaging of the power unit can be changed, which Vasseur hinted is an area Ferrari have developed over the winter.

“The regulations are clear that the engine is almost frozen but we can change reliability,” Vasseur explained.

“Last year, it was not the best aspect of the engine but we did a good job at the factory and in terms of power we will be there.

“The window [difference between teams] for the engine was very small. We will see what happens this season but I think we are in a good place.”

The SF-23 unveiled at the Ferrari launch | Scuderia Ferrari

Vasseur has overseen title-winning junior teams, including ART when Nico Robserg and Lewis Hamilton won the GP2 Series, before becoming Renault ‘s F1 team principal in 2016.

He moved onto Sauber in 2017, which became Alfa Romeo, and now has one of the biggest jobs in F1 as the boss of Ferrari.

The 54-year-old says he has been learning Italian and was proud of the way Ferrari launched their car, the SF-23, in front of 500 Tifosi at Maranello, before Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz drove the new machine around Fiorano.

“It’s always emotional for a team to do the launch,” Vasseur added. “We put so much effort, not me, but I can feel the work done on the car and it will be on a journey for the project because it will go to the race team.

“It’s like when you are back at school and I can feel everybody is very proud of the job done. This feeling will be important for the motivation. It’s crucial in terms of performance.”

Carlos Sainz, Frederic Vasseur and Charles Leclerc | Scuderia Ferrari
Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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