Frédéric Vasseur is the right man for Ferrari in F1. Not a messiah bringing salvation and miracles, but a rock capable of withstanding the impact with the most frightening monster under Maranello’s bed: pressure. A monster that scares, defeats, and ultimately drives away any team principal who finds themselves facing it. Finally, however, it has found a worthy rival.
Ferrari is the Italian National Team of motorsport. Different from every other team on the grid, it not only represents the ambitions of a company but is also tasked with embodying the strength, capabilities, and value of an entire nation. Italian fans see the Reds as a symbol of their patriotism, expressed in fervent, ardent, but also dangerous and exhausting passion for those who wear those colors.
An honor, of course, to wear red. But also an immense responsibility, emphasized and overloaded by public opinion, where the only result worthy of note is and will always be victory. Everyone knows it, starting from Christian Horner, who spent his entire career at Red Bull: “Ferrari is a national team, the pressure they have on their shoulders is brutal.”
Horner, the steely Englishman from Milton Keynes, never misses an opportunity to stoke that pressure: “Vasseur is a capable man, expectations are extremely high for the next season.” A technique perfected over the years, his and that of his colleague-rival Toto Wolff: when you are the favorites, the best choice is to speak well – even too well – of others, to unload some of the expectations from your shoulders.
This technique works even better if rivals shoot themselves in the foot: Benedetto Vigna’s statements at the beginning of 2023 should be a warning for the future. But now Ferrari can rely on a very capable fighter.
Frédéric Vasseur: a clever man
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A few weeks ago, we asked readers for an opinion on the performance of the new Ferrari team principal. The judgment was generally positive, despite the “disastrous” season for the Prancing Horse. Of course, there is the excuse of the car not directly under his responsibility. Yet, the French engineer has skillfully weathered all the criticism directed at him throughout the season.
With his affable manner, knowing when joking can deflect from an uncomfortable question, and also composed and decisive when it’s necessary to choose words carefully, Fred Vasseur is everything Ferrari needs. A French Toto Wolff, extremely skilled in managing relationships in the paddock. The right mix of technical ability and managerial shrewdness.
He spent a year studying the weaknesses of the Prancing Horse, and now it’s time to forge his personal interpretation, more ambitious and aggressive but also more political. The 2024 Formula One season will be a crucial test, but the key will be to endure until 2026. Formula 1 shows that stability pays off: it’s time for Ferrari, or rather, for the Ferrari people to be led by their most valiant leader.