Although Fred Vasseur is “fully convinced” Charles Leclerc is up for the F1 challenge, he says the rookie must be given time to adjust.
Ferrari protégé Leclerc arrives on the 2018 grid with huge expectations surrounding the Frenchman.
While he may be racing for Sauber, last year’s bottom team, many believe the Formula 2 champ can still impress.
However, his team boss Vasseur says he will first need time to get used to life in F1.
“I know Charles for… not 10 years but more or less because he’s done go-karting with us,” Vasseur told Motorsport Week.
“He was very successful so far. He won more or less everything, but the next step will be the biggest one for sure. Between GP3 and F2, F3 or GP3, it’s more or less the same situation. To do F1 is a different story.
“You have to learn about tyres, about energy management, about engine management to deal with you. It’s a lot of things.
“But first you will have also to learn about the track, the first two or three circuits you will have to learn the track.
“I don’t have to put too much pressure on the shoulders. You have to deliver, but what is most important for me is to show he can improve across the course of the season. I know where we are today, similar for Charles also.
“The most important is to improve consistently during the season. He has a very positive attitude, and I’m fully convinced that he will do the job.”
And although there may be a Ferrari seat up for grabs come 2019, Vasseur believes Leclerc’s focus will be firmly on Sauber and what he can do for the team.
“I think Charles has to be focused on the job,” he said. “The worst case scenario would be for him to focus on what could happen in 2020. It’s the wrong attitude.
“He has to be focused on the current job with the Sauber engineers and not to think about the Ferraris.”