The 2023 Formula One season for Ferrari won’t go down in history, and Carlos Sainz’s lone victory in Singapore cannot be considered a saving grace for the season. Maranello, after the boastful announcements on February 14, the day the SF-23 was revealed to the world, has had a year that feels like a partial flop. The gap from Red Bull compared to 2022 has widened alarmingly, and considering that they also lost a position in the standings to a seemingly out-of-form Mercedes in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
In the year of the revolution in the Sporting Management, it was perhaps to be expected. It was clear that time was needed. Those who lament and rant today about a Ferrari that doesn’t dominate the competition may have lost their way and perhaps the basics of logical reasoning. Rome wasn’t built in a day, let alone the Prancing Horse, which thrives on extremely complex internal dynamics and operates under media pressure that others can only dream of.
Frédéric Vasseur left Sauber, eagerly embarking on a new professional journey. A fascinating challenge with hidden pitfalls that perhaps were not well calculated during negotiations. The manager from Draveil inherited an enormous workload associated with the frenzy of an environment craving victory more than anything, losing clarity.
In Ferrari, there is everything potentially needed to lead the Formula One chariot: money, expertise, passion. Only one small detail is missing, which has often been the cause of the red team’s troubles: patience. The desire to do things quickly is the curse that haunts the sports executives who took the reins of the Prancing Horse.
The first year for the former Sauber was not a walk in the park. The restructuring of the Sporting Management is not yet complete, and the performances of the SF-23 have suffered, even though it is a vehicle born from the old administration. The red car was soundly beaten by Red Bull, struggled for a long time against the Aston Martin AMR23, failed to outpace the disappointing Mercedes W14, and in the second half of the season, it was often defeated by the resurgent McLaren MCL60.
The French professional needs time even before trust. The top figures in the Italian team were aware that the work ahead was monumental. Increasing pressure after a lackluster year would be senseless and risk restarting the meat grinder that has devoured managers, technicians, and drivers, imposing modest sports results and loads of disappointments.
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection! Click here to enter the F1 online Store and shop securely! And also get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
Ferrari: Suffocating Pressure
Around the Ferrari world, there is no shortage of judgment. Opinions swing from one extreme to another like in an out-of-control carousel. Critics and wait-and-see observers stir in the same boiling cauldron, creating an explosive mix. Narrators create more confusion than they see, often wrongly, inside the secret rooms of the Sporting Management, a mythical and idealized place where, in reality, all that is done is work, trying to structure valid systems to make Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz stable winners rather than settling for rare and almost ephemeral triumphs.
That Maranello is constantly in the midst of pressure was also emphasized by Christian Horner, the head of the absolute favorites for the 2024 championship. “Ferrari is a different type of team, a national team. This results in great pressure: the Italian media are absolutely brutal, scrutinizing every move. There’s enormous expectation. Fred is capable; he is a good leader for Ferrari because he is an F1 animal.”
The clearest picture of what Ferrari and the surrounding environment are comes from across the Channel, where they evidently know well how things work in Maranello. “The expectation for them will be very high next year,” added the executive from Leamington Spa, who clearly does not shy away from the advantageous mechanism of offloading more stress on an already boiling environment.
If Fred Vasseur and his team can manage emotions, especially if top figures (John Elkann and Benedetto Vigna) do so, then Ferrari can lay the first brick toward a more solid future, which, clearly, passes first through overcoming technical and sports limits (see strategies) that have restricted the actions of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz and other drivers in previous years.
Building victory is a long process that involves defining many details. Red Bull is a clear example, as it has strengths in every area of the business. Fred Vasseur knows this and is working in that direction with the convinced support of ownership, which, at least this time, has not set absurd deadlines.
Source: Diego Catalano for FUnoanalisitecnica