As Scuderia Ferrari prepares to head into its 73rd full world championship campaign in 2023, it does so under new leadership.
Following the collapse of their 2022 campaign which began so promisingly with two wins from the opening three rounds, Mattia Binotto resigned as the team’s leader at the end of the year. The decision ensured that Ferrari would enter 2023 with their fifth team principal in the last nine seasons, following Stefano Domenicali, Marco Mattiacci, Maurizio Arrivabene and Binotto.
However, rather than hire from within their F1 team’s own ranks like Domenicali and Binotto or pick an executive from outside the Scuderia but still under the Ferrari umbrella, like Mattiacci, Ferrari has instead drafted in an experienced team principal from outside the team in the form of Frederic Vasseur. Ferrari’s last such appointment, Jean Todt, was their most successful team principal by far.
Vasseur has a strong background in motorsport already. As co-founder of ART Grand Prix, Vasseur helped to create one of the most formidable outfits in junior single seater motorsport. For several years, Vasseur has been leading the Sauber team during their tenure as Alfa Romeo. From helping to nurture Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc through his debut season in 2018 to achieving his team’s best result in ten years by securing sixth place in 2022, Vasseur made a strong enough impression on Ferrari to earn their trust in becoming their latest team principal.
But is Vasseur the best man to lead Ferrari into their future? Was there another possible candidate you felt that the team overlooked in picking their latest team principal?
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If Ferrari’s record of hiring team principals from outside of Formula 1 is to go by, they absolutely made the right decision in picking Vasseur. Someone with years of continuous recent experience of being a team principal, being involved in all the same meetings as Binotto had been in means it will take little time for Vasseur to get up to speed.
There’s also his good working relationship with Leclerc from his single season with the team in 2018, someone who will be able to reassure him after a frustrating year for Leclerc in 2022. Vasseur is equally fond of team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr, having pursued him during his time at Renault and Alfa Romeo.
Vasseur has shown what he can do with a team with modest resources and Ferrari could do much worse than who they’ve picked.
Frederic Vasseur is a very sensible choice. He is experienced, respected and has had a good relationship with Ferrari over many years. But that is exactly why Ferrari fans should be wary – he is the ‘safe’ option.
Ferrari have more than enough resources and finances to battle for championships. The main reason they haven’t since the Todt years is not because of their driver line-up or their facilities, but because the team has failed to capitalise on the potential of its personnel, leading to a lack of direction, errors on and off the track and general underperformance.
With Vasseur already admitting he does not intend to make changes to Ferrari’s structure until he has time to see how the team operates, fans should be worried that the team may not learn from the mistakes that cost them last season.
Vasseur has earned a chance to show what he can do Whether Binotto planned his resignation long before it became public, was ousted by the team’s leadership against his will or truly decided to he did not want to face another season at the helm of F1’s most illustrious team, Ferrari needed stability to rapidly return to the team heading into 2023.
They have found that in Vasseur. While not a figure whose arrival screams that drastic change is coming to Ferrari, it’s also true that Ferrari does not need a major reset of culture and structure. What Ferrari needs is consistency. It needs accountability. It needs someone who will ensure discipline is maintained so that the fundamentals are never a concern during a race weekend.
But how do you ensure that? Either you bring in someone to crack the whip and keep the team in line through fear of failure, or you find a leader who will earn the respect of their staff and who the team will want to deliver for. Ferrari’s decision to go with Vasseur shows they have chosen for the latter. And in that, they have made a wise move.
Have Ferrari found the right person to replace Binotto? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.
Do you agree that Ferrari made the right decision in hiring Frederic Vasseur as team principal?
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