Formula One

Vasseur: Leclerc and Sainz ‘key to Ferrari project’


Amid swirling rumors surrounding both his drivers, Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur underscored the important role he foresees for both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in the Scuderia’s future.

The rumor mill – powered as is often the case by the Italian media – was spinning fast in the days leading up to this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Italian grapevines first whispered unsubstantiated gossip about how Sainz is quickly falling out of favour at Maranello, with Ferrari allegedly growing frustrated with the Spaniard’s disappointing performances.

Reports then emerged claiming that it was “an open secret” that Leclerc was in talks with Mercedes over filling Lewis Hamilton’s plum seat, should the Briton choose to throw in the towel and retire at the end of the season.

Hamilton himself set the record straight on Thursday in Baku, reiterating that he had no intention of leaving Mercedes although the two parties have yet to agree to a new contract for 2024 and beyond.

Hamilton also made clear that the rumors linking Leclerc to Mercedes would have “no impact” on his negotiations with his employer.

Queried by the media on the same subject, Leclerc – who is in theory tied to Ferrari until the end of 2024 – predictably denied that he was in talks with Mercedes.

“No, not yet. Not for the moment,” he said. “So, for now, I am fully focused on the project I am today, which is Ferrari.”

On Friday, Vasseur spent little time on the topic when pressed on the matter, but highlighted the prominent role played by both Leclerc and Sainz in the Frenchman’s plan for the Scuderia.

“I am not sure [about the Mercedes links], it is not what Charles said,” he said.

“Charles confirmed that he is committed to the project and he wants to be World Champion with Ferrari.

“I am confident that you don’t have to focus on the last two races. We want to build up something with our drivers, I have always said the drivers are key in the project and you have to build up the team around them, that is what we are doing.”

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Vasseur: Leclerc and Sainz ‘key to Ferrari project’

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