Scuderia Ferrari have reportedly decided to part ways with a key member of their team ahead of the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place this weekend at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg. Chief engineer of the power unit, Lorenzo Sassi, is therefore leaving the Maranello team, although the information has not been officially confirmed by Ferrari just yet.
The story about the high-profile exit emerged when Italian language daily newspaper published in Milan Il Giornale reported that Lorenzo Sassi had left Ferrari under the instruction of president Sergio Marchionne. The news has come as a great surprise given Ferrari’s significant progress with the engine in the 2017 Formula One season, which has proven capable of being more than a match with the dominant Mercedes power unit. The departure also comes days after Ferrari revealed that a new power unit would be available to them in time for the 2017 British Grand Prix, which will be next round of the Formula 1 championship, following the Austrian Grand Prix.
Scuderia Ferrari have yet to publicly confirm the exit, while Sebastian Vettel claimed he had no knowledge of Sassi’s departure in Thursday’s packed press conference: “I don’t know what you are referring to. It is better you ask a little bit higher up.” – Sebastian Vettel said, as reported by the Italian media. The Maranello-based outfit has refused to comment for the moment, but is expected to make an official announcement during the next days.