The decisions made by Ferrari’s management in the past year have sparked discussions. It’s not a matter of criticism but rather a simple observation of the facts. The choice to do without a man who held an important position in the historical hierarchy of the red team, Mattia Binotto, after spending almost fifteen years within the Italian team, came at debatable timing.
What is surprising in this regard are the statements made by Benedetto Vigna before the start of the 2023 Formula One season. If the Swiss-born engineer was dismissed in January, there must have been a reason. It is customary, in fact, when a relationship becomes worn-out and has no future, to terminate it at the end of the season or even earlier, to allow the new person to have some impact, albeit partial, on the following championship.
The aforementioned context is far from what actually happened. On this matter, a thought arises. Considering how, as soon as the efforts of the Prancing Horse realized the limited potential of the 675 project, they decided to remove Mattia, could it then be argued that it was a wrong move? Perhaps he would have stayed if the 2023 car had lived up to expectations? Who knows. However, that was not the case, and the sad outcome unfolded.
This highly detrimental atmosphere has burdened the new team principal of the red team with excessive pressure, tasked with turning around the fortunes of the Maranello team in a rather short time. This aspect, which has been pointed out by the Italian website FUnoanalisitecnica, highlights how the present-day figure is missing within Frederic Vasseur’s mandate.
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Ferrari SF-23: Was the new technical direction already anticipated?
At this point, another interesting question arises. Recalling Mattia Binotto’s words, we can say that the Ferrari philosophy planned for 2022 was never rejected, at least not in words. On the contrary, the belief in being competitive with an aerodynamic concept different from the fiercest competitors was always firmly asserted.
To tell the truth, Frederic Vasseur himself defended the project, believing in the work done in the recent past. However, since the Spanish Grand Prix, we have observed how the SF-23, after a year of conceptual continuity, has shown a convergence towards Red Bull in terms of aerodynamic setup. The technical details that currently do not seem to serve the cause have been collected, clarifying that the inwash philosophy is limiting the flow to the vortical structures in the diffuser and, consequently, the performance of the Italian race car.
From this perspective, it is worth considering: the working group of the manager from Lausanne had already studied on paper the updates to be introduced based on the project’s characteristics, while Frederic Vasseur, as he has clearly stated multiple times, reiterated that the plans for updates have taken a different direction. This is why there has been a delay in their implementation.
Now, a sports management that is losing pieces, lacking unity of purpose, and at the same time showing a confused technical direction, how can it change the short-term planning and make it effective on the track? Logically speaking, everything appears extremely complicated, especially because in these uncertain situations, no one takes responsibility for the measures taken.
On the other hand, the individuals entrusted with carrying out tasks during the internal reorganization cannot be condemned if they fail in their endeavor, right? Conversely, such individuals feel justified for various reasons. Examples? Time is limited, this work should have been done by others, achieving the objective without resources is very complex.
Ferrari entangled within itself
To make matters worse, there is a complete absence of leadership. Or perhaps it would be better to say a lack within the company. Yes, because according to what has been learned, the efforts in Maranello have been ongoing for some time. Permanently in place. The efforts made are numerous. Nevertheless, the lack of sports experience in relation to Formula 1 is felt. Moving skillfully in the financial world has nothing to do with the facts on the track. It is clearly evident, unfortunately.
Although John Elkann and Benedetto Vigna have personally stepped in to try to change things, their inexperience in motorsports is strongly felt. Without a specialized figure to provide certain consultations, it will never be possible to rectify such a limiting condition. This factor does not bode well for the future because the foundation of the 2024 race car should be laid in the coming month.
How can a struggling team in the current “simple” management properly plan for the future? The question mark finds an obvious answer: it cannot. Thus, the future takes on darker shades, much more than one might think, putting the outcome of the 2024 Formula One season at serious risk. This outcome must be avoided at all costs.
Completely abandoning the importance of current results, although partly detrimental, would facilitate the crucial organizational reconstruction within the Maranello team to plan for the next championship. In a year where Frederic Vasseur knows well that excuses related to timing will no longer hold. It is about prioritizing to regain greatness, a context that has been absent for too long now.