The Negotiation Between Ferrari and Mercedes for Loic Serra
“I won’t say anything until it’s official.” Scuderia Ferrari’s team principal, Frederic Vasseur, has not yet wanted to reveal the ‘top guy’ with whom the Maranello team will make a splash in the technical market, but the identity pointing to Loic Serra, responsible for Mercedes’ performance and an expert in tires and suspensions, is becoming increasingly clear, according to several reports in the Italian media.
Today’s edition of the Italian newspaper Il Corriere dello Sport also reports some behind-the-scenes details of Fred Vasseur’s courtship of an engineer working in the team led by his friend, Toto Wolff. According to the Italian sports newspaper, Mercedes even tried to move legally to delay Loic Serra’s departure to Maranello, but it seems that the showdown has been relatively soft to the point that the three-pointed star brand is preparing an official statement to announce Loic Serra’s departure.
This is what Fred Vasseur is waiting for to finalize the decision on what will effectively be David Sanchez’s successor, who left Ferrari at the beginning of the 2023 Formula One season and will join McLaren as soon as his gardening leave period ends. Recently, Red Bull and Aston Martin even ended up in court due to Dan Fallows’ move from Milton Keynes to Silverstone, a dispute that was eventually resolved with an agreement between the parties, allowing Dan Fallows to start his new role in early 2022.
Regarding gardening leave, Il Resto del Carlino estimates that Loic Serra will have to observe an 18-month period of “stop” before being fully operational in Maranello after his experience at Mercedes, which began in 2019. As Fred Vasseur had pointed out, in Formula 1, due to gardening leave, new engineers do not have an immediate effect, and therefore, it’s only in 2025 that Ferrari will be able to benefit from Loic Serra’s expertise, collaborating with the technical director Enico Cardile.
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Fred Vasseur had previously stated that he had identified an area where Ferrari needed reinforcements. Hiring a specialist in tires and suspensions is undoubtedly a very targeted acquisition, but the dynamics of Formula 1 impose ‘patience’ on those signing technicians, and this ‘patience’ is directly proportional to the caliber of the figure taken from a rival team.