Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc says he is completely behind new team boss Frederic Vasseur and is confident he will take the Italian outfit in the “right direction”.

Vasseur replaced Mattia Binotto at the helm over the winter, but the ex-Alfa Romeo chief has endured a tough start to his debut campaign in the Ferrari hot seat.

While Ferrari has managed to be competitive against a dominant Red Bull side over a single lap in qualifying, the team’s SF-23 car has regularly lagged behind both Aston Martin and Mercedes in race trim.

Leclerc trailed home seventh in last weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, with Carlos Sainz fifth in the sister car, leaving Ferrari rooted to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship after five rounds.

However, Leclerc, whose Ferrari contract expires at the end of 2024, is adamant that he has faith in the plans Vasseur has to transform the Maranello squad’s flailing fortunes, having worked with the Frenchman on two previous occasions.

“Well, I think he’s just starting this process now,” he stated. “Until now he was basically trying to analyse the situation as quickly as possible in order to do the best changes possible for the future.

“So yeah, I think the big part of the job will be done from now on so we will see. Obviously I speak a lot with Fred and I know what are his middle and long-term plans for the team, and I’m completely behind him and I trust him fully.

“So I’m sure these are the right choices and it goes in the right direction for the team. So for that, I’m looking forward to it. But yeah, let’s wait and see.”

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-23. 06.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA, Qualifying Day.

Carlos Sainz has concurred with the view of his Ferrari team-mate, contending that Vasseur’s fresh approach won’t transcend an immediate improvement overnight.

“I think he’s definitively taking the lead 100 per cent now, he clearly is pushing the team in the direction he thinks the team should go, and it’s nice to see the changes coming through and the change in approach,” Sainz added.

“Also seeing him taking that leadership and all that. Also there has been a couple of things going on at the team lately and that has given him some extra work, but I think it’s a constant moving target, but I think we’re going in the right direction and we are more focused on the medium and long term, because I think that if you want to have an impact in the team, it has to be more on that stage.”

Ferrari has repeatedly struggled on Sundays with excessive tyre wear compared to its immediate rivals, but the Miami GP witnessed both drivers also complain about the unpredictability of its 2023 package.

Having crashed at Turn 7 twice in successive days, Leclerc professed that the SF-23 was too wind sensitive, while Sainz argued he had “zero flexibility” to push the tires during the race as he dropped from third on the grid to fifth at the chequered flag.

The Italian stable introduced a new floor in Miami and is expected to unveil a series of more substantial updates in the coming European rounds.

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