Ferrari boss Vasseur says he is loving the pressure

AFP / Giuseppe Cacace

Fred Vasseur says he is loving the pressure as he prepares for his first race as Ferrari Formula One team boss, as well as having a shorter walk to work from the track car park.

The Frenchman moved to the sport's oldest and most successful team in January from Swiss-based Sauber, who compete as Alfa Romeo, as a replacement for departed principal Mattia Binotto.

Ferrari has not won a championship since the 2008 constructors' title, but expectations, and pressure levels, are always high.

Alfa Romeo ended last season sixth overall in the standings, and Ferrari was runners-up.

"I have to walk much less from the parking to the hospitality, first," Vasseur told reporters at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix when asked how the experience so far compared to his previous job.

"For sure, the expectations are different. What we are doing, it's much more visible for everybody but honestly I love the pressure and the target is to win and it's a dream."

"I am very keen to have this kind of target and this kind of motivation every day," he added when asked further about the pressure.

"I think that the team is used to dealing with it, and honestly, I'm not scared at all about this."

Vasseur is Ferrari's fifth team boss in less than a decade and stands out already from most of his predecessors as a man who mixes the weight of the job with a smile and chuckling sense of humour.

Ferrari are the third team he has led, after his time at Renault before Sauber, and he also has decades of experience from the junior series.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc raced for Vasseur at Sauber, and Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz was long on the wish list as someone he tried, and failed, to hire.

On the basis of pre-season testing and practice, Ferrari appears to be still behind champions Red Bull, but Vasseur cautioned that the season was long.

The team's 2022 experience, when Leclerc won two of the first three races and then saw his title hopes crumble to dust, remains vivid.

"I think last year for the team was a good lesson, the championship is not over after race one and we know that it will be a long way," said Vasseur. "We have to continue to develop the car over the season."

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