Frederic Vasseur, the newly appointed Ferrari Formula 1 boss claims the top management have given him the delegation to run the team, which he intends to do the way he sees fit.
The relationship between the bosses of the Ferrari F1 team and the company’s top management has always been the cause of discussions as to how much they interfere in the running of the team, or how disconnected they can be as is the case with current Ferrari Chairman John Elkann, as well as current CEO Benedetto Vigna.
Former Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto did not receive the support he needed from his superiors, something we have always believed was crucial for him to succeed in his job running the most fabled team in F1, and he ended up resigning or “being resigned” after the 2022 season.
Will the situation change with Vasseur? Will he get the support he needs, will the top brass at Ferrari give him the freedom he needs to operate and leave him to face his fate on his own? Will they micro-manage him?
Speaking to the media last week, quoted by F1’s official website, Vasseur touched on his relationship with Vigna and Elkann; he said: “I have a very, very direct relationship with Benedetto [Vigna].
“I have him for dinner two or three times per week and on the phone every single day,” the Frenchman revealed. “I have the delegation to do it [run the team] and I will do it as I want.
“We have enough discussions with Benedetto and John [Elkann, chairman] on a daily basis to discuss the key points and this is crystal clear, and it’s working perfectly,” Vasseur insisted.
Strategy a matter of organization rather than the guy on the pitwall
Vasseur joins a Ferrari in crisis, a team that failed to make use of an impressive car, the F1-75, in 2022 and got beaten by Red Bull and Max Verstappen after an early advantage for Charles Leclerc, as the Scuderia imploded with drivers errors, strategy bungles, and reliability woes, the latter meaning they had to run their power units conservatively to avoid break downs.
Asked about these issues, Vasseur said: “I joined a bit more than two weeks ago, and as you can imagine, on some topics it’s a very long process.
“I’m speaking mainly about the engine,” he noted, “but I think and I hope that it’s under control today, that they did what looks to be a good job over the last couple of months.
“Development is very often a strategic choice now with the cost cap, to decide if you want to be more focused on the car for the year after or the current one,” Vasseur explained. “But I was not there and I don’t want to make any judgement on what’s happened in the past, but we’ll see during the season.”
He went further in his analysis; and explained: “Very often when you’re speaking about strategy, it’s much more a matter of organisation than the guy on the pit wall.
“I’m trying to understand exactly what has happened on every single mistake, what happened last year and to try to know if it’s a matter of a decision, a matter of organisation, of communication.
“Very often on the pit wall, the biggest issue is communication and the number of people involved rather than the individual. If you put too many people discussing about the same thing, when you have the outcome of the decision, the car will be on the next lap!
“You need a clear flow of discussion, and clear flow of communication between good people in the right positions. It’s a work in progress,” the former Alfa Romeo boss maintained.
Vasseur seems to be taking his time as he gets settled at Ferrari, and all that he has said for now shows that he is taking a slow but steady approach analyzing the team instead of changing everything from the get go.
Smart thing to do, but will he succeed? Will Ferrari top management give him the backing he needs?