Scuderia Ferrari has chosen Fred Vasseur as Mattia Binotto‘s replacement. This decision made headlines because so-called F1 experts wasted no time claiming that the move was a mere stopgap. This was because, at that precise moment, no other notable technical director was available, and rather than continuing with the former Swiss-origin team principal, it was better to settle. The Frenchman’s appointment took place last January, on a cold winter morning when Frederic set foot in Maranello before heading to the Fiorano track.
In the following months, the Frenchman tried to keep a team in disarray afloat. He observed and studied it to understand how it operated. With the support of management, he embarked on a journey with the utmost confidence in his abilities. A timeframe in which there were several departures from key roles in the team. However, the old mandate weighed heavily, and various “purges” took place in the following weeks. At this point, there is no need to name them; we are very familiar with them.
It is decidedly more interesting, in fact, to comment on Fred Vasseur’s role, keeping in mind that the context in which he was forced to act was “poisoned” by the recent past. We are talking about a car, the SF-23, born under the technical hegemony of Mattia Binotto. A project that was largely a failure, which once again carried with it a prerogative: losing. Corrections proved futile. The red car, from a purely technical standpoint, was too far from the top, and nothing different from what was done could be accomplished.
The brief summary of the year in question leads to various conjectures. The first concerns the approach that Frederic has established as an incontrovertible “must”: to continue developing the car with the aim of accumulating as much know-how as possible. A measure useful for laying the foundations for the future. Second, he shaped the “recruitment campaign” to bolster the GES. An operation that, as he himself has recalled on several occasions, takes a very long time in F1. Finally, he managed the thorny issue of renewals, necessary to give continuity to the excellent existing driver pair.
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Ferrari: Fred Vasseur knows exactly what to do. He was hired for this.
Frederic is an engineer, but he is by no means a prodigy. We have said and written this several times on our pages. However, the work done in the last year must undoubtedly be defined as very good. Radically changing the team’s management has never been his goal. As mentioned, the former Alfa Romeo manager preferred to study the entire team with extreme caution and then, armed with data, draw his conclusions and discuss what to do with the Ferrari management. Meanwhile, he removed Iñaki Rueda from the role of strategy chief, a move that should have been made a long time ago given the poor results.
At the same time, he promoted a “youngster,” trusting Jain Ravin, a British engineer born in 1995 of Indian origin. A decision that his predecessors, while deeming it necessary, had never taken. Fred Vasseur did it as a very direct person, capable of getting to the point without many detours. A characteristic that puts his collaborators at ease and makes the execution of his tasks much simpler. Those who work at the factory every day are certain of this, putting in a lot of effort to bring the Prancing Horse back to the top.
Frederic has also been skillful in taking on a very difficult role. A very delicate task performed with a certain serenity. The Frenchman is generally a cheerful and smiling character who, when required, can assert himself with extreme decisiveness. The relationship with management is really excellent. He has convinced, surpassing even the rosiest expectations. The Frenchman knows how to handle pressure. He absorbs it, somehow. Although he is not a man of proclamations, he always has clear ideas. He doesn’t promise, but at the same time, he doesn’t deceive.
His impact on the Italian team has allowed the workgroup to grow in terms of mentality, an indispensable prerogative for carrying out their tasks at their best. All of this, considering that the prospects are broadened to the entire company, under every single element. But there is more: the project is absolutely ambitious, carrying with it a real and deeply necessary target: to reach the top and stay there for a long, long time. To build a winning cycle, because Ferrari cannot and should never settle. Will Fred Vasseur be truly capable of it?
Source: Alessandro Arcari for FUnoanalisitecnica