Carlos Sainz ‘honestly’ isn’t worried Fred Vasseur will favour Charles Leclerc

Michelle Foster
Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. February 2022.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz look at each other while wearing 2023 Ferrari race suits.

Carlos Sainz insists he’s “not at all” worried about Fred Vasseur favouring Charles Leclerc as the Frenchman prepares for his first season as Ferrari team boss.

Ferrari have a new man in charge this season, Vasseur replacing Mattia Binotto as team principal after the Italian paid the price for one too many mistakes during the 2022 season.

No sooner had Vasseur been confirmed than rumours began to swirl that his signing was good news for Leclerc, the Monégasque driver said to have wanted number one status last season when he raced out to a 34-point lead in the standings only to be denied by Binotto.

While neither Leclerc nor Binotto have revealed exactly what was behind the Italian’s Silverstone finger wag at his driver, there is speculation that was the result of Leclerc being unhappy with the team’s strategy favour Sainz.

Although he was the one leading after a late Safety Car, it was Sainz who took the win when Ferrari pitted him for new tyres but left Leclerc out on old ones. Sainz stormed through to win, Leclerc fell to P4.

But now with Vasseur in charge it could be a different situation given the Frenchman has a long history with Leclerc, having signed him to the ART team while also giving him his F1 debut at Sauber.

Sainz is adamant he isn’t worried that he’ll soon find himself number two to his team-mate.

“No,” he told Sky Sports, “not at all.

“Honestly, I’ve always got on well with my Formula 1 bosses, and I have the confidence that as soon as Fred sees me, sees my working capabilities, but also that my speed and my talent, I am pretty sure Fred is going to respect that.

“We’re going to get on well like I get on with everyone in Formula 1.

“And the fact that he, if anything, has a good relationship with Charles I think it’s going to help him to have an influence in the team earlier on.”

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All that matters to the new boss is that Ferrari wins

Speaking at the presentation of Ferrari’s SF-23, Vasseur was asked which of his two drivers would win Ferrari’s first race this season.

His response: “I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to have Ferrari in first place. This is the goal of the whole

“No doubt we will push for both drivers equally and see what happens in Bahrain. But the most important thing is to put Ferrari first.”

And let that be a warning to both!

Vasseur’s job is to ensure Ferrari walks away with the World title and the Constructors’, he’s not paid to put Leclerc on the top step nor Sainz and, judging by his comments since his signing, he really doesn’t care which of the two wins as long as it is one of his drivers.

The Frenchman is adamant he’ll play the team game if it comes down to it, but whether that works in Leclerc’s favour or Sainz’s, he doesn’t mind as long as it works in Ferrari’s.