Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has confuted rumours that the team will favour Charles Leclerc over Carlos Sainz jr in the upcoming season.

Vasseur, who will lead Ferrari for the first time this year since taking over Mattea Binotto, has a long history with Leclerc. The Monegasque drove for Vasseur’s ART team in the GP3 junior series and also made his F1 bow with Ferrari-powered Sauber in 2018 when the Frenchman was in charge.

Their history, coupled with the fact that Leclerc managed to finish second behind Max Verstappen in the F1 title challenge last season led many to believe that Ferrari and Vasseur will prioritise him over Sainz who will have to play second fiddle to his teammate like Sergio Perez to Verstappen at Red Bull.

Vasseur has now put that speculation to bed during an interview.

“I started a discussion with Carlos and Carlos’s management when I was at Renault, to attract him and to sign the contract,” he said.

“We always had a very good relationship. I trust him and I think he showed in the last couple of years that he’s a potential winner that’s very important for the team.

“We won’t have a number one and number two. The organisation is crystal clear that they have to do their job and if at one stage I will have to take action for Carlos or for Charles I will do it.”

Leclerc won three races last year while Sainz claimed his maiden win in Formula One at the British Grand Prix before finishing fifth overall.

Sainz also signed a contract extension with the prancing horse team last season until 2024.

Ferrari will launch their 2023 challenger on February 14 as they finally look to win an F1 drivers title since 2007.