Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA President, believes the return of Ferrari to its Championship winning days in Formula 1 is just a matter of time.
Ferrari have not won a Drivers’ F1 Championship since Kimi Raikkonen’s triumph in 2007, while their last Constructors’ Crown was in 2008, when Felipe Massa lost on the Drivers’ Title to Lewis Hamilton – then at McLaren – by one point.
The last successful Ferrari team boss remains Frenchman Jean Todt, who handed over the reins to Italian Stefano Domenicali in 2008, the latter only tasting success in the 2008 season.
After Domenicali resigned in 2014 and up to 2022, Ferrari went through three team principals; Marco Mattiacci, Maurizio Arrivabene, and Mattia Binotto who was recently replaced by Frederic Vasseur who is the first non-Italian to take up this role since Todt in 2008.
Speaking to the media at the 2023 Dakar Rally, Ben Sulayem was asked about the changes and diversity in Ferrari team bosses; he responded: “The decision was made on the basis of performance.
“When Ferrari won they had a lot of diversity, but it’s not about whether Italians are better than French or Germans. It’s about finding the right person,” he explained.
Ferrari failed to win in 2022 despite starting the season with what was arguably the fastest car on the grid, the F1-75, but an array of driver errors, strategy blunders, and reliability problems meant the Reds failed.
Only Ferrari know if they have ingredients for success
“Even if all teams have the same engine and the same team boss, only one team can win at the end,” Ben Sulayem commented.
“Whether they have the right ingredients, no one knows except Ferrari itself. But winning races and winning championships is not something new for Ferrari.
“It’s only a matter of time until they win again,” the FIA president insisted.
The Emirati was also asked about Aston Martin and whether the British team have what it takes to win in the foreseeable future.
“They should,” Ben Sulayem said. “And the way the investment is going, and then having a smart guy like Fernando [Alonso], I believe yes.
“Performance first is important. Winning is very hard. You can talk about Ferrari, but Ferrari did not win. But was it because it is slow? No. It’s maybe the reliability, the management, the whole thing mixed together.
“I think Aston Martin is not short of the finance. It maybe needs a different way of [doing things]. And the changes that Mr. Stroll is changing now into it, bringing another driver, bringing a new discipline to his team, new personnel, that is very important also,” Ben Sulayem explained.