Is Charles Leclerc feeling the heat? Vasseur chimes in

Frederic Vasseur, at the helm of Ferrari, remains entirely unfazed by the recent downturn in Charles Leclerc’s performances, asserting confidently that he’s not worried “at all,” when probed about his concern for the Monegasque racer’s form.

During the Suzuka event, Formula 1 journalist Marijn Abbenhuijs broached the subject with the 26-year-old driver regarding whether the prospects of his teammate Carlos Sainz, who remains unsigned for 2025, outshining him in the current season’s Ferrari has added undue pressure. This comes especially in light of Leclerc being pinpointed as Lewis Hamilton’s successor at Ferrari for 2025 over Sainz, as outlined by the Algemeen Dagblad reporter.

Leclerc, steadfast in his stance, refuted the notion, declaring, “No, that’s not the case.” However, a moment of frustration was evident when Leclerc briefly lost his composure over a faulty microphone during the interaction, muttering, “I’ll stop, this makes no sense,” before being coaxed to continue by his press officer.

Marijn Abbenhuijs encapsulated the scenario, observing that while Sainz seems to maintain his cool, outperforming Leclerc, a palpable “high tension” exudes from the latter.

The performance of Sainz at Suzuka has not only overshadowed Leclerc but has also positioned him as a potential candidate for the coveted Red Bull seat alongside Max Verstappen for the 2025 season.

Dr. Helmut Marko, a consultant for Red Bull, lauded Sainz’s form, highlighting Leclerc’s radio admission during the race, baffled by the gap, “We heard Leclerc say on the radio that he doesn’t even know where that gap comes from.”

In search of a turnaround, Leclerc candidly expressed his bafflement to Corriere dello Sport, emphasizing the necessity to “wake up” following recent performances he deemed satisfactory from the cockpit but resulted in a disappointing placement, “It felt like a good lap to me,” he recounted, “Then you look at the classification and suddenly you’re far behind and it’s a disaster. I’m still looking for an explanation. I didn’t make any mistakes or slip-ups, I was just slow,” he conceded.

Vasseur, having committed to pairing Leclerc with Lewis Hamilton, who will be donning the iconic red Ferrari suit at the age of 40 next year after a challenging stint with Mercedes, reiterates his lack of concern to Sky Italia at Suzuka, “I’m not worried about it at all.”

Highlighting Leclerc’s recent achievements, Vasseur pointed out, “Charles finished second in Australia, which I think is something 18 other drivers on the grid would like to have done. Today he lost only one tenth to Carlos and he knows very well where he needs to improve. We are talking about only one lap – one segment. The season is long. I’m not worried about it at all,” reinforcing his confidence in Leclerc’s potential for an imminent fightback.

GMM

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