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Vasseur sets Ferrari team orders instructions: 'I will take action'

New Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur insists that the team will head into the new F1 season with no intention of appointing a 'number one' driver until it is necessary.

Frederic Vasseur insists that Ferrari will start the season with no 'number one' driver, but will prioritise a driver with a championship-winning opportunity. The former Alfa Romeo Team Principal was appointed at Ferrari following the departure of Mattia Binotto , and has been tasked with putting the team in championship contention. During Ferrari's turbulent 2022 season, the early championship lead held by Charles Leclerc slipped away, but the Monegasque had emerged as the faster driver over the course of the year. With Ferrari having historically favoured having a 'number one' driver to prioritise in the Drivers' Championship, many anticipated the Italian team favouring Leclerc. Vasseur, however, is adamant that this is not the case, and said that the Ferrari drivers will have equal opportunity unless he is required to "take action". "I think it's the same everywhere that we have two very good drivers and both of them are able to do the job," Vasseur told media, including RacingNews365.com . "We will have the capacity to provide them with exactly the same car and the same structure and the same support. "What is clear is that the target is to win with Ferrari, there will be no number one or number two. But if at one stage we have to take action, I will take action. "It doesn't matter if it's one or the other but, if at one stage in the season I have to do something, then I will do it."

Vasseur confident of Sainz's abilities

When Ferrari were winning more frequently at the start of the 2022 season, the Sainz was unable to consistently challenge Leclerc. Mistakes in Australia, Imola and Barcelona hampered his early podium opportunities, before an upturn in form brought more podiums and a victory at the British Grand Prix. With Sainz conceding that he was disappointed with some aspects of the season, he finished fifth in the Drivers' standings, behind Mercedes' George Russell. Vasseur took the opportunity to back Sainz, and reiterated his desire to not issue any driver preferences until required. "You probably know that we started the discussion with Carlos and Carlos' management when I was at Renault to attract him and to sign the contract for 2017 or something," recalled Vasseur. "Then he joined a bit later and, when I was Sauber, I tried to sign Carlos again, [but this time] without success, and I said 'okay, if I want to attract Carlos, the best way is to join the team where he is!' "We have always had a very good relationship. I trust him, and I think he showed in the last couple of years that he is potential winner. "But it's very important for the team that we don't have a number one and a number two. "The organisation is crystal clear, but they have to do their job, and if at any stage I have to take action for Carlos and for Charles, I will do it."

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