Fred Vasseur on the unique pressure that comes with Ferrari team principal role

Michelle Foster
Fred Vasseur, Ferrari, looks serious. Bahrain February 2023

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur looking serious. Bahrain February 2023

Stepping into the hot seat that is the Ferrari team principal job, Fred Vasseur admits the role comes with a different sort of pressure to what he’s used to, pressure that’s created by the enthusiasm of the tifosi.

It’s been 15 seasons since Ferrari last won a championship, the Scuderia lifting the Constructors’ trophy in 2008, while the wait for a Drivers’ Championship title is 16 years and counting.

There have been several near-misses along the way, runner-up results for Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, but still Kimi Raikkonen remains Ferrari’s last World Champion.

Charles Leclerc, at least on paper, came close last season as he joined the list of Ferrari drivers to finish P2 in the standings.

However, that isn’t an accurate picture as, after a brief foray at the top in the early rounds of the season, Leclerc quickly fell out of the fight as reliability and strategy errors slipped into Ferrari’s game.

Team boss Mattia Binotto paid the price for the lost opportunity, the Italian resigning at the end of the season with Vasseur named as his replacement.

The former Alfa Romeo team boss admits his new role comes with added pressure unlike he’s ever experienced before.

“What is true is the passion and the enthusiasm around the team is mega,” he told “When we did the launch, you have thousands of tifosi behind the fence, and I’m not sure that is the case anywhere else in the world.

“The enthusiasm, you can feel it everywhere – you go to the hotel and you have fans and so on. This is putting a kind of pressure on.

“Now, the question is if it’s good pressure, a kind of motivation, and I’m taking it like this, or if it’s something that will restrain the development?

“Honestly, I think that it’s positive. When you are doing this, you want to have this [pressure]. You can’t do a show or a sport and try to be not exposed.

“We know perfectly that in F1 you will have fans who will have expectations, and probably in Italy it’s a bit bigger than somewhere else. But so far, it’s okay.”

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Already the Frenchman has made one big change with former head of strategy Inaki Rueda relegated to the factory with Ravin Jain taking charge at the track.

It was Vasseur’s call to re-organiser rather than swing the axe with the 54-year-old saying his only aim is to ensure Ferrari improves.

“We have to take it with humility,” he said. “The team was second in the World Championship last year, and I don’t have to join and change everything.

“We have to do it step-by-step. I need to digest tonnes of things the last couple of weeks.

“We will do small changes in the next few weeks because we have to improve. But it’s not linked to Fred Vasseur or Ferrari. It’s the DNA of our business.

“If someone on the grid is satisfied with what he’s doing, he is dead. It means that we always have to put it [problems] on the table, and to try to do a better job for the next race.

“I think it has to be the mindset to try to get the best from the people that we have at the factory also. It’s not just the parts that you can see on the track, it is also what we are doing at the factory to improve on every single area, because the performance is coming from there also.”