New Ferrari F1 boss Fred Vasseur will need time to turn the great Italian team into title winners again says Carlos Sainz who has full faith in the Frenchman’s leadership.
First, it needs to be said that Sainz, and teammate Charles Leclerc, owe outgoing Mattia Binotto a big thank you for being in the world’s most famous racing team. Charles because he was believed in from a young age, and Carlos because he was given a dream break to race in Red.
With Binotto out of the picture, from the end of the month, Vasseur will be the new boss at Maranello, and he knows both drivers well, particularly Leclerc who Vasseur’s various junior teams ran during the Monegasque’s rise to F1.
However, after a disappointing 2022 season, change was needed at Ferrari after they dropped the ball too often despite having the better car at the start of the season. A slew of glaring errors from the pit wall, coupled with driver mistakes, happened with no apparent accountability for poor performances. Until, of course, the invisible leadership of John Elkann swung the axe or said enough to prompt Binotto to call it quits.
While welcoming Vasseur, Sainz also cautioned: “Every time a new person joins the team there is always an extra motivation to do well and the team will try to take another step forward. Ferrari is a giant, there are 1,300 people and we have to give Fred time. He will need time to figure out what changes the team needs, but I have heard great things about him. That doesn’t happen from one day to the next.”
As for the former Formula 2 team owner, Renault man turned Alfa Romeo (aka Sauber) team principal and the soon-to-be Ferrari F1 boss, Sainz told Mundo Deportivo: “I know him personally because when he was at Renault he already wanted to sign me and we had contact. I called him and I’ve already had my first contact as a Ferrari driver and I know he’s going to do well.”
Ferrari’s woes this past season have been well documented, mismanagement from the very top drifted down to the core of the team, with confounding pitwall decisions and glaring pitstop blunders adding ammo to the gun that fired at Binotto, forcing him to walk.
Can Fred do what Binotto, Mattiacci, and Arrivabene failed to do at Maranello?
During the course of the past season, more than once Sainz himself took matters into his own hands when it came to race strategy, defying his team as they time after time turned advantage into a disadvantage.
The Spaniard knows there is work to be done: “There is an intention and desire to improve and then circumstances have to arise to have a better car and know how to take advantage of it. This year for the first time we had a competitive car to win races and take pole positions. Knowing that I am a fast learner, I am sure that next year I will be a better driver.”
Sainz finished fifth in the 2022 F1 drivers standings, winning his first Grand Prix at Silverstone among the highlights of his second year in Red: “We had many good things and many that I will remember for the rest of my life, very beautiful moments and also hard ones like the beginning with two consecutive retirements when the car was ready to win races.
“In the end, the car was no longer ready to win and I had the accident in Austin. Epic moments, very high and low, and the goal for next year is to have a more consistent season, win races and score many more points with far fewer retirements.”
“I already know how to win them and I have learned my lesson and I will try to do it more often but above all to do it more regularly,” mused Sainz.
Next year will be the 28-year-old Madrista’s ninth season in F1 this year, arguably the only so far in which he had a winning car, he was bettered by Leclerc in the World Championship standings; thus the obvious goal will be to beat his teammate again (he did in 2021 his first season at Ferrari) and then worry about where the Red Bull and Mercedes chaps are.