Fred Vasseur quizzed on Carlos Sainz ‘state of mind’ after Charles Leclerc’s Monaco win

Michelle Foster
Fred Vasseur hugs Carlos Sainz

Fred Vasseur is adamant Carlos Sainz is 'totally committed'

Fred Vasseur has quashed any hints of discontent with Carlos Sainz after being asked about the Spaniard’s state of mind with Charles Leclerc overhauling him as Ferrari’s lead driver.

Sainz was the star driver in this year’s early races as the soon-to-be-former Ferrari driver claimed three podium results in his first three races, including a victory at the Australian Grand Pix.

Fred Vasseur: Carlos Sainz is ‘totally committed to the work’

Winning in Melbourne just 16 days after an appendectomy, the Spaniard was applauded for his performances while questions were asked about whether Ferrari made the right choice in retaining Leclerc and dropping Sainz.

However, in the last four Grands Prix, it’s Leclerc who has regained his foothold as Ferrari’s lead driver, outscoring Sainz by 79 points to 53.

Sitting second in the Drivers’ Championship, the Monegasque driver is just 31 points down on championship leader Max Verstappen after his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. Sainz, who was third on the day, is a further 30 points back.

With the swing in momentum coming at a time when Sainz is still haggling over his Formula 1 future, options reportedly changing from Red Bull and Mercedes to Audi and Williams, his team boss was asked about his driver’s ‘state of mind’ by the Italian media.

He replied: “I believe Carlos’ approach is the same as it was when we presented the car in February.

“He is a professional, and his first reaction was: ‘Okay Fred, it’s a tough decision, but let’s push until the last corner of the last lap of the season.’

“He is a great professional, totally committed to the work, and I am convinced that his contribution will remain the same until the end of 2024. I am really satisfied with Carlos.”

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Ferrari team boss denies ‘turning point’ suggestion

The Monaco Grand Prix result means both Ferrari team-mates have won a Grand Prix this season, the Italian team the only outfit to achieve that feat.

On the back of their Imola upgrades, Ferrari are now just 24 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship, raising hopes of a potential title fight.

Vasseur, though, doesn’t believe this is a turning point so much as a step forward.

“In terms of focus, I don’t think much changes for the team. Everyone is doing a good job, and we are completely focused. We know what we want to achieve and the path we need to follow to reach this goal,” he said.

“At the same time, I believe the Monaco victory can help Charles increase his self-confidence. He had been waiting for a home race win for several years and had gone a long time without winning. Returning to victory always boosts self-esteem.

“I can’t say if it could be a turning point, but I believe it will be a significant step forward. That said, we must not change our approach because we had good results in Melbourne and Monaco.

“We have a plan, we are developing the car, and we know what we need to improve step by step, and this approach must be maintained. Having achieved a good result in Monaco, or a less good one in other weekends, does not change the plans; stability is very important.”

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