Drivers not happy, but motivation not lost at Ferrari: Frederic Vasseur

After the first three races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Australia, Ferrari is a pitiful fourth in the constructors' standings.

Charles Leclerc in the brand new Ferrari SF-23. (Image: Twitter/Scuderia Ferrari)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Apr 20, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Although Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz’s team manager at Ferrari, Frederic Vasseur, has insisted that motivation is not an issue for his drivers, he readily acknowledges that he fully comprehends why they are not satisfied with the season’s results thus far. After the first three races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Australia, Ferrari is a pitiful fourth in the constructors’ standings, which is a sharp contrast to the early part of the 2022 season when they comfortably led both championships.

In fact, Leclerc had a 34-point lead in the drivers’ championship race just a year prior, and Ferrari had a 39-point lead over their closest competitors, but both challenges were ultimately defeated by mistakes, unreliability, and Red Bull’s gains. Vasseur was questioned about how Leclerc is handling the situation and how he can keep him motivated after the Monegasque withdrew from two of the three races held in 2023 and finished seventh in the other after receiving a grid penalty related to his engine.

What Fred Vasseur said

“I have absolutely no doubt about the motivation of Charles,” Vasseur began. “For sure the start of the season is not ideal at all. We had a DNF in Bahrain, then the penalty in Jeddah and the DNF in Melbourne – it was not 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. 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.”

Read More – Australian GP penalty ‘disproportionate’, says Carlos Sainz after FIA rejects Ferrari appeal

“But the most important [thing] for me is to keep everybody motivated, pushing in the same direction, and they [the drivers] are supporting the team. The motivation is not an issue at all,” the Ferrari boss added.

Carlos Sainz disappointed with FIA decision

Carlos Sainz expressed his disappointment on social media after Ferrari’s appeal regarding his late-race Australian Grand Prix penalty was rejected on Tuesday. He added that he is “100% focused” on the upcoming race in Azerbaijan. In a late restart at Albert Park, Sainz collided with fellow countryman Fernando Alonso, costing the Ferrari driver a five-second penalty that dropped him from P4 to P12 and out of the points. In the post-race interview, the Spaniard appeared frustrated, and Ferrari later filed an appeal. Following a hearing on Tuesday morning, the FIA made the decision to maintain Sainz’s punishment.

“Two weeks later, I still think the penalty is too disproportionate and I believe it should have at least been reviewed on the basis of the evidence and reasoning we have presented. We have to continue working together to improve certain things for the future,” Sainz said. “The consistency and decision making process has been a hot topic for many seasons now and we need to be clearer for the sake of our sport. What happened in Australia is now in the past and I am 100% focused on the next race in Baku.”