Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur says that Charles Leclerc is not just a "spectator" as the team goes through a rebuild of its personnel.
Ferrari has not had the best of starts to its 2023 season with two DNFs for Charles Leclerc with his only race finish in Saudi Arabia. As well as performance struggles there is a rebuild of personnel currently going on at Ferrari with key figures leaving the team.
AlphaTauri announced on Thursday that Franz Tost was leaving at the end of the 2023 season bringing his tenure to an end. Replacing him will be Ferrari deputy team principal Laurent Mekies meaning that another key figure in the Scuderia will have left.
Fred Vasseur the new team principal of Ferrari urged that drivers are a key part of a team rebuild and used Michael Schumacher as an example to back his point with the German having a very dominant era at the Italian team. Vasseur went onto say that Leclerc is fully emersed in the process of the team rebuild and not just watching on as it all unfolds.
When talking to Motosport.com he said "For sure that Charles is an important pillar of the performance, and he has to play the role in the car, outside of the car, to be a performance contributor. And he's fully supportive of this part of the job. And I'm really convinced that it's also a personal commitment from himself."
The new team prinicipal of Ferrari also stressed that if the drivers are not complaining about issues then they are not hungry are enough to do better than they already are. Vasseur also went onto to say that Ferrari went on to try and get Carlos Sainz's penalty removed in Australia as a show of support of their driver. Sainz was very upset on the radio when he was told about the penalty at the Australian Grand Prix last month and was urging the team to argue against it.
The review of Sainz's penalty was rejected and it meant that his finishing position in Melbourne would still be last place after a chaotic restart and red flag period. Drivers are unhappy with the "rogue" decisions the FIA are making and are wanting to be included in discussions to try and keep the ruling of penalties and procedures consistent.
Meanwhile in Baku this weekend Charles Leclerc finished the opening session in P2 just 0.037s off of Max Verstappen in his Red Bull. However the Monogasque driver did not have the cleanest session running wide in turn 2 and having to use the escape road. The practice session is the only one of the weekend with Formula 1 introducing a new sprint weekend format for 2023.