Ahead of the 2019 season, Raikkonen lost his place with the Scuderia, who opted to promote rookie driver Charles Leclerc from Sauber. However, as part of the change, Raikkonen returned to Sauber – now Alfa Romeo – for the first time since starting his career with the team in 2001.
Vasseur recalls the initial negotiations with Raikkonen, and credits the Finn for understanding the different demands and aspirations to a team like Ferrari.
“The advantage with Kimi is before he signed last year we had hours of discussions, about the team, the positive and negative points, where we could improve, where we have to improve,” he recollected to Autosport.com.
“We were very open about what is the real situation of the company.
“And I think now he is not surprised when we have issues because we knew that before.
“He’s fully committed on the project. I don’t know how he was last year with Ferrari, I was not there, but for us it is working perfectly.
After moving to Sauber, Raikkonen received from criticism from some fans and commentators for describing F1 as now more of a ‘hobby’, but Vasseur has defended his commitment to the team.
“The most important for me was to make sure he was committed,” the Alfa Romeo team princpal added.
“Committed means he will be present at the factory, he will push the guys, he will be demanding. He is demanding, and I don’t want him to relax, that’s absolutely not the case.
“I want to have someone in the team pushing for results. It’s a good situation for the engineers also and it’s important.
“But he already understands that he’s not at Ferrari or Mercedes and everything can’t be fixed in two weeks.”