Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur has reacted to widespread reports in Italian media big hitters that his team are in a “crisis of chaos” with key personnel departed, departing or sending out their CVs looking to depart.
Furthermore, the reports claim that Vasseur is almost powerless in his role, which seems more figurehead than decision-making which is done by Formula 1 novice Benedetto Vigna, with President John Elkann making the final calls for matters at Maranello.
This is not some influencer making noise on social media, we are talking Corriere dello Sport, Gazzetta dello Sport, Corriere della Sera and a host of specialist motorsport websites in Italy, collectively reporting the same thing, from numerous sources within Ferrari.
Crisis? What Crisis? The new French Boss, two and a half months in the hottest seat in sport, played down the reports in an interview with AutoHebdo whereby he (attempted?) to clarify the speculation.
Vasseur, former boss at Renault and Alfa Romeo F1 teams, said: “I have resources and decision-making power that I have never had anywhere else.
“I struggle to understand why the team became a target after just one race. In the correlation of data between the simulation and the track we are on the right track .”
Fred: There are people who were very close to Binotto who prefer to leave.
As for the recent departure of Ferrari aero boss David Sanchez, Vasseur explained: “It’s inevitable. There are people who were very close to [Mattia] Binotto who prefer to leave. I don’t mind. And there are others who may have feared for their future.”
The reports of dissent at Maranello stem from the woeful 2023 F1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, where Ferrari drivers were well off Red Bull’s pace all weekend, in the race. Adding insult to injury, Charles Leclerc chased until his PU expired for a DNF.
In the other car, Carlos Sainz soldiered on to finish a distant fourth – a huge 50 seconds off cruising winner Max Verstappen – the Spaniard also had no ammo to fight off a resurgent Fernando Alonso in his rampant Aston Martin who powered to third place.
This a race, which under Binotto’s reign, Ferrari won last year with an emphatic one-two. Hence, after this year’s Bahrain debacle, the ‘knives were unleashed’ by Italy’s media and their editors. Historically a very powerful force in matters Ferrari.
Vasseur: I ask everyone in Ferrari to stay focused
After the forgettable night in Bahrain last Sunday, Vasseur reported: “Of course we are disappointed, how could we not be. We knew we’d have to deal with tyre degradation, but we had not expected reliability problems.
“After this first race, we have a clear picture of the situation and we know what areas we must work on. We have to improve a lot in terms of tyre management and clearly, we have to ensure we have no more reliability problems like the one that affected us.”
Now, a week later, ahead of what could be another thumping from Red Bull, in Jeddah, this weekend, Vasseur is appealing for calm: “I ask everyone in the team to stay focused on performance and to find solutions to the reliability problems because this Championship is a long one.
“Bahrain has obviously been negative in some ways, but also positive in others,” concluded the Ferrari boss; notably this clear-the-air interview he gave to a French publication – AutoHebdo – not directly to the Italian media, who were delving and exposing the goings on at Maranello.
Whatever the case, watch this space because this one is not over by a long margin!