Ex-Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert thinks Frederic Vasseur will take some weight off Charles Leclerc‘s shoulders and make life easier for Ferrari‘s team personnel.
Vasseur took over Mattia Binotto‘s position as Ferrari team principal over the winter following a run of mistakes and underwhelming performances that saw any hopes of challenging for the title quickly fade away.
It’s the third team Vasseur has been in charge of in F1, having managed Renault in 2016 and Sauber, which became Alfa Romeo, from 2017 to 2022.
“The changes at Ferrari with Vasseur coming in will probably be a new lease of life for Ferrari,” Herbert exclusively told Total-Motorsport.com.
“Hopefully, that will actually make it easier [for the team]. I think there’s a lot of weight on Charles’ shoulders.
“I think Fred’s going to be able to take that off to allow his natural talent to do what he would normally do, which is go out there and win races. That’s just one little part that can help put a driver in the right mindset.”
Having won two of the opening three events, Ferrari were seemingly going to be championship contenders in 2022, before errors from the team and drivers handed the title to Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
One major downfall was their strategy which was strongly criticised at many races including the Monaco, British, French and Hungarian Grand Prix.
Herbert thinks Vasseur‘s character could see a change in culture and mentality at Ferrari when it comes to they operate.
“We saw what happened with strategy and there was a lot of talk about Ferrari saying, ‘well, we did the right thing’,” added Herbert.
“They never seemed to accept their mistakes. Someone like Fred I hope can come in there and, if there is a mistake, they can deal with it in a proper way.
“Sometimes you have to accept it and that is where there has to be a little bit of change. That will only help morale in the team to really make sure everyone is doing the job they are expected to do.
“Sometimes criticism is the way that everyone can have a bit of a reset. If you put your hand on someone’s shoulder and say, ‘that’s not a bad job’ they might think, ‘Ok, well I will carry on doing what I’m doing’. That’s not good enough because that’s why the mistakes maybe came a little bit too frequently last year.
“You have a look at Red Bull and Mercedes, see how strong they are when it comes down to those strategy calls. They [Ferrari] have all the right ingredients so let’s hope Fred can provide that final thing they need.”