A few months after his appointment as Ferrari CEO, at the end of 2021, Benedetto Vigna reorganized the industrial part by changing key figures within the team. Like that of Chief Technology Officer Michael Leiters, who in the meantime has moved in record time to McLaren (CEO of the road car division) bringing with him many secrets. The same is happening now in the racing department. Faced with this climate of uncertainty and fear, several first and second lines have started to look around for other opportunities: the resignation of David Sanchez (McLaren destination) leaves a void for the short period and in the long term, with the 2024 project starting shortly and a 2023 World Championship that has to be saved.
Several contracts will expire next year, including that of Enrico Cardile, who currently has the responsibilities of technical director. So far, no one has received any reassurances. And given that a period of gardening leave is needed to move from one team to another, other departures are almost certain. With some ex-team members possibly returning to Maranello, such as, perhaps, Simone Resta, from Haas.
There is also the case of Laurent Mekies, confirmed as racing director, but with more limited powers compared to his past experience as assistant to Mattia Binotto. The former FIA engineer seems to have reached an agreement to move to Formula 1, alongside Stefano Domenicali. However, Frederic Vasseur vetoed the situation, hoping to convince him to continue with Ferrari. The other issues concerns the relationship between Benedetto Vigna and Frederic Vasseur, whose activity since joining the Italian side has been undermined by some episodes. The Ferrari team principal’s decision to fly to the Bahrain tests together with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, an old friend, was not liked. But not only.
When Fred Vasseur proposed bringing a new sponsor to the Scuderia he was stopped, his contribution in this area is limited and he would like to expand it. As for Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque’s dissatisfaction is evident, but he is happy to have Frederic Vasseur alongside him. Charles has a contract until the end of the 2024 Formula One championship and even if he wanted to leave the Maranello team, where could he go? Among the top teams, Mercedes is worse off than Ferrari based on the performance in Bahrain.
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Despite having enormous pressure on him, Frederic Vasseur finds himself in a strong position, knowing that the top management of Ferrari cannot afford yet another change of team principal. But he has to solve a large amount of trouble, starting with a fragile and tire-eating single-seater. Issues that have to be fixed immediately, for next weekend’s race between the walls at the Jeddah Corniche circuit in Saudi Arabia, where if you’re not in a right place with set-ups and confidence, drivers risk a lot.