Ferrari in title fight for the long haul, Vasseur says

Ferrari has been in the championship fight for some time but needs to only focus on each upcoming race rather than the bigger points picture, according to team principal Fred Vasseur.

Charles Leclerc’s victory and Carlos Sainz’s third place in the Monaco Grand Prix enabled Ferrari to close the gap to leader Red Bull to just 24 points, after Max Verstappen was limited to sixth and Sergio Perez retired. Although it was just Ferrari’s second win of the year, the Scuderia has scored a podium in every round except one — finishing fourth and fifth in China — and Vasseur says it has been in the mix for some time.

“Honestly we have 16 races to go, the most important is to think about the next one, not to think about the championships,” Vasseur told SpeedCity Broadcasting. “We have a long way to go and we have to stay calm.


“We were in the fight the last three or four races. We won in Melbourne; in Miami we had everybody within about six seconds, Imola also. The fight is there.”

Sunday’s win was Leclerc’s first at home and came after twice failing to convert pole into victory in Monaco for Ferrari, with Vasseur acknowledging the significance of the result.

“It’s a huge release off the shoulders of everybody. Firstly I’m thinking about Charles because I think he had the question every single year, ‘This year what will happen? Blah blah blah’ and I think I will have a Charles pre-Monaco and post-Monaco now. But honestly I think it’s good for the team because they are pushing like hell at the factory — we have to not forget the guys back at the factory — and they did a mega good job.”

Vasseur also praised Sainz for his approach to the race, with the drivers responding to the way the team wanted them to handle the unusual approach to a race that didn’t require a pit stop after an early red flag.

“It’s a great feeling for sure, and it was under control from lap one. But the risk in this situation is to try to push too much or to lose control a little bit because you want to get more — and there’s nothing more to get than the win,” Vasseur said. “The drivers asked a couple of times to push a little bit more but we tried to slow them down a little bit.

“Carlos did a mega good job and we had a tricky position because we were asking him to push, to slow down, to push, to slow down, and he did fantastically.”

Story originally appeared on Racer