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vasseur ferrari chaos

Ferrari chaos as Vasseur rift with Vigna intensifies

vasseur ferrari chaos

A damning report on chaos at Ferrari appeared in today’s edition of Il Corriere dello Sport claiming that newly appointed team principal Fred Vassuer has far less powers to his counterparts in the paddock, and is already frustrated by politics at Maranello.

The report emerges only days after Ferrari’s dismal start to the 2023 F1 season, with a DNF for Charles Leclerc and a distant fourth place for Carlos Sainz for their efforts at the Bahrain Grand Prix; last year they scored a memorable one-two at the venue with Mattia Binotto at the helm of the sport’s most famous and supported racing team.

Corriere reporter Fulvio Solms wrote in an editorial for the respected Italian sports news portal: “The problem is not an electric cable that shuts down the Ferrari. Neither is it the excessive tyre wear or Leclerc’s sulking. All extremely unpleasant things but they are just the effects.

“The real cause of what is happening inside the Scuderia lies in a deep rift that has opened up that has undermined two essential ingredients aimed at: (1) stability, which went down in December with the replacement of the team principal (Mattia Binotto out, Frederic Vasseur in) and (2) a certain unity that was in the team, albeit with some grumbling.

“The rift between Vasseur and the managing director Benedetto Vigna constitutes the true epicenter of the ongoing earthquake orchestrated by president John Elkann, who in effect put Vigna in charge of Vasseur, who now operates with powers inferior to those of his other nine peers in Formula 1. That means: he has no control over the team, a responsibility that usually pertains to the role of team principal.

“For example upon his arrival, [Vasseur] asked for an update on team sponsors, a request which was denied: even that is handled by Vigna, a role he took away from Binotto in March 2021. Nor does Vasseur have a say on communications matters since the Media Manager, Thomas Hofmann, does not report to him but instead to Charlie Turner, Head of Communications.

“During the Bahrain Grand Prix, ​​the new team principal complained to some people about ‘the harness’ weighing on him and, incredibly, he said it without caring to hide the fact. This could mean two things: Do you think that these confidences do not reach Vigna?”

Vasseur’s complaints do not concern only the CEO of Ferrari

binotto vasseur

The editorial continues: “Or is it that two months into his Maranello spell he is already fatigued by the way to proceed, considering it unacceptable, and maybe chose this route as a sort of ‘make it or break it’  call out to those who have just hired him.

“Among other things, his complaints do not concern only the CEO of Ferrari, sure Vigna is very capable in the field of semiconductors but with hardly any racing pedigree at all, but there are also issues with Lorenzo Giorgetti, Chief Racing Revenue Officer who has just been hired from Milan.

“This is the long-lasting effect of the DNA change desired by Elkann: the cancellation of the Scuderia’s independence from the company (connected since July 1969) on the basis of a key agreement signed by Enzo Ferrari and Gianni Agnelli, that has been in place and respected for decades.

“Binotto defended that autonomy, and also defended his engineers when they were wrong, in the awareness that those who are protected are more daring in their work, come up with the ideas but, of course, sometimes make mistakes.

“In contrast, those who no longer feel protected take refuge within the confines of their homework in order not to run into an error that could cost them their job. Or, if he’s unappreciated, like David Sanchez, he gathers his stuff and says goodbye to the company. On that note, it is not true that Sanchez was pushed to leave…”

Is Laurent Mekies looking for a house in Paris?

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Regarding the future amid the rumblings of Vasseur’s growing disenchantment, Solms speculated: “Binotto, yes he resigned, he was the last in the forest of Ferrari managers who dared change the confining rules around him. And now, his successor Vasseur is trying his hand at the same game.

“He was quick to declare, in a late January meeting with Italian journalists at Maranello, the theorem that ‘the Scuderia is only a department of the company’ which explains and makes you understand the frustration of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

“The problems of reliability or the hope that between two Sundays, Jeddah will favor the Reds with greater speed, seems trifle in the face of such a serious structural landscape.

“Forza Ferrari sure, always, but we fear other unpleasant, harmful separations will follow. Is Laurent Mekies looking for a house in Paris?” concluded Solms in his notable and startling revelations of the goings on at Ferrari, just as an important new campaign begins.

Ferrari team principals since the turn of the century: Jean Todt (1993–2007), Stefano Domenicali (2008–2014), Marco Mattiacci (2014), Maurizio Arrivabene (2015–2018), Mattia Binotto (2019–2022) and now
Frédéric Vasseur (2023–?)

Since this report, Charle Leclerc is also seeking answers with a meeting between he and John Elkann reportedly taking place in the wake of the Bahrain debacle.