Scuderia Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur remained tight-lipped when asked about the potential move of Mattia Binotto to Alpine as team principal, following the removal of Otmar Szafnauer from the position.
Before the qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix at the 7.004-kilometre Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Stavelot, it was officially announced that Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane would be departing from Alpine following the Belgian Grand Prix.
The identity of Otmar Szafnauer’s successor remains unknown at this stage, but rumors suggest that former Scuderia Ferrari team principal Binotto is being considered for this position. Frederic Vasseur, who took over from Mattia Binotto at the end of the 2022 Formula 1 championship, refrained from providing any comment on whether the Italian manager replaced would be moving tp Alpine.
When questioned by Sky Sports F1 after qualifying, Fred Vasseur simply replied, “No comment.”
For the Ferrari team, qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps was a positive experience, as Charles Leclerc secured pole position for Sunday’s race. The Monegasque driver posted the second-fastest time, trailing only reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, who incurred a five-place grid penalty for using a fifth gearbox (the legal limit being four).
Throughout the opening day in Belgium, Charles Leclerc showcased impressive speed, giving him a significant opportunity to claim a podium finish on Sunday. Carlos Sainz will start the race from the second row of the grid, advancing to fifth place after Max Verstappen’s grid penalty. Yet the Maranello team is very much aware that it will be almost impossible to keep the Dutchman behind given the impressive speed of the Red Bull RB19. Carlos Sainz recorded the fifth-fastest time with a lap of 1m 47.152s, less than two-tenths of a second slower than his Maranello teammate’s impressive high 1m 46s lap.
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While Charles Leclerc was satisfied with his performance, he believes he could have challenged Verstappen’s incredible time, which was eight-tenths faster than his own, had the team released him onto the track slightly later. The 25-year-old is convinced that he started his final lap “a bit too early,” missing the chance to capitalize on the circuit conditions at their optimal state.