Leclerc would welcome ‘straightforward, honest’ Vasseur as Ferrari team principal

2022 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc says he has “always had a good relationship” with Frederic Vasseur, who has been tipped to take over as Ferrari team principal.

Vasseur has headed up Sauber’s Formula 1 team, currently branded as Alfa Romeo, since 2017. Leclerc drove for the team in his first season as a grand prix driver the following year, before moving to Ferrari.

At the end of last month Ferrari announced Mattia Binotto had decided to step down as team principal. Asked in today’s FIA Gala press conference whether Vasseur would be well suited to take over from him Leclerc said: “Ferrari is a very different team to any other team. I can only comment on my experience with Fred which obviously has been good.

“I’ve been working with Fred already from the junior categories where he has believed in me and we’ve always had a good relationship. But apart from that, obviously this shouldn’t influence any of the other decisions.

“He has always been very straightforward, very honest and this is something that I liked from from Fred. Whether it will be him or not, I don’t know, and we’ll see hopefully in the in the next few months.”

Ferrari chairman John Elkann and CEO Benedetto Vigna will decided who to appoint as the new team principal. Leclerc did not express a view who they should pick. “Obviously it’s also not my decision, John and Benedetto are going to take the decision,” he said.

Ferrari announced Binotto’s resignation last month
“We are just trying to focus our job on the simulator with the team in order to have the best racecar possible for next year.”

Leclerc said he respected Binotto’s decision to move on after four years in charge of the team.

“Mattia called me to announce that he will stop,” he said. “I respect his decision and I can only thank him.

“Obviously he has believed in me right from the start. He extended me with a very, very long contract. And before being team principal, he was also inside the scuderia for many, many years and he has contributed to the success that the team had in the in the past years.

“So I wish him the best and obviously now it’s up to us to focus on the future, try and take the right choices in order to be a bit more of a challenge to Red Bull next year.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Leclerc would welcome ‘straightforward, honest’ Vasseur as Ferrari team principal”

  1. Vasseur is running a team which for 3 years couldn’t get drinking system work properly. What a great fit for Ferrari to battle with Max and Red Bull.

  2. Nothing against Vasseur but is his only in at Ferrari, Charles?
    Is that what he offers as compared to the likes of Horner?

    I’m genuinely asking here

  3. So Vasseur it is. I’m not convinced. Not a necessarily bad choice but they could have made a much bigger change by appointing some high-calibre person from the world of motorsport. Like McLaren did with Seidl.

    1. There is only one Jean Todt! They’re wasting time trying to invent a new one.

      1. Boomerang,
        Todt offered his services to Ferrari straightaway after he stepped down from the FIA. Elkann though refused the offer because Todt didn’t want to be involved in the day to day management of the team. He wanted a senior advisor role so he can leverage Ferrari international presence to promote his political agenda.

        Besides, Jean Todt has been categorically against Ferrari in his 12 years presidency in the FIA so no one will question his integrity. Though sometimes he went too far and took it personally. He publicly criticized the team when Ferrari lobbied to change the PU rules at the start of the hybrid era. That might sound reasonable though I don’t remember him bashing RBR for example when they have been equally lobbying for rule change in their favour.

        Moreover, He was furious when Ferrari vetoed his proposal to cut the PU supply price in 2015 after he forced them to invest hundreds of millions. He went too far and was working to persuade Liberty to revoke Ferrari veto power in the last Concorde agreement negotiations. He also personally insisted that Ferrari will not go unpunished with regard to the fuel flow saga.

        After all this I was surprised that he expected Elkann to forget what he has done against the team and welcome him again.

        1. Agree, Todt was great at Ferrari, but now he’s only about politics and is so concerned with a zero safety risk image he turned F1 into a joke with automatic safety cars, VSCs or even red flags for things that would have been local yellows at most in the old days.

          Anyway, one would assume he would have his eye on some important office. Road safety cannot be his actual political agenda.

    2. Appointing a non-Italian is definitely the right move

  4. And what will happen with: Laurent Mekies?

    1. He will probably join Alfa Romeo.

      1. That is if he is interested in a max. 3 yrs.
        Also if Freddie starts poaching his old colleagues [at min. strategists!!!], Sauber will replace them, no doubt with ‘OOOO’ input.

  5. The direction in Ferrari is to split the Team Principle functions in two roles :

    – A managerial role to handle the politics and the management of the team.
    – A technical role to oversee the development of both the chassis and the power unit.

    Vasseur will be the team principle and it is expected that Simone Resta will return as a technical director. Vasseur has previously expressed that he believes in the driver’s hierarchy policy in order to challenge for world championships.

    On another note, Elkann has already forced his cousin Andrea Agnelli and the entire Juventus board of directors to resign. Carlos Sainz sr is known to have a good relationship with the Agnellis and leveraged it to the max with the influence he held over the Ferrari pitwall and especially the Spanish engineers.

    Vasseur is expected to bring his men and will certainly start by restructuring the entire pitwall because there is no point of insisting with the same people who constantly failed to deliver. I have no doubt about the man’s ability to run a racing team, though the big test Vasseur has to pass is winning the political game against two beasts like Horner and Toto.

    As for Leclerc, and despite the fact that his manager Nicolas Todt had a disagreement in the past with Vasseur in the past that resulted in him selling his stake in the ART grand prix team, he is expected to get the long sought-after n°1 driver status.

    1. This is great insider info. Thanks.

    2. If this is true sounds very promising. I mean as a top team they really can’t do much worse than recently when it comes to pit decisions and strategies.

    3. @tifoso1989

      The direction in Ferrari is to split the Team Principle functions in two roles :

      – A managerial role to handle the politics and the management of the team.
      – A technical role to oversee the development of both the chassis and the power unit.

      Sounds like they’re pivoting back to the Arrivebene era strategy.
      I always thought they performed fairly decently when they adopted this approach.
      In 2015, they improved remarkably to finish P2 in the WCC.
      In 2016, they had a bit of a setback, but recovered well in 2017 where they were very competitive in the first half of the season.
      In 2018, they had a car as good as Mercedes, but Vettel failed to deliver and the team did suffer from poor reliability towards the end of the season, but they did mount a more serious championship challenge than they did in 2022.

      If what you’re saying is true.. then Vasseur might be the best man available easily to the team. He’ll never be as good as Horner or Wolff in the politics category, but he’ll be better than Binotto, Otmar, Capito and Krack.

      Personally, I think if they made a strong play for either Seidl or Tost, they would be better off.

      1. @todfod
        I completely agree. Ferrari were sharper operations wise with Arrivabene. With Binotto they become the joke of the paddock and there were no sign of improvements either. The rumours suggested that Seidl was indeed contacted but he categorically refused which is understandable. Tost is RBR man but also according to the rumours Berger was also considered for the role.

  6. Straightforward and honest? With the amount of stupidity circulating within this team the last thing you need is someone straightforward and honest. That would be the end of SF.

  7. Given that Vasseur has a track record of achieving exactly not much at all, I can’t understand why anyone thinks he would be beneficial for Ferrari. I doubt they have any interest in him.

    1. @dang Vasseur’s teams have won 8 championship titles in the GP3 Series, 8 titles in the GP2 Series and 2 titles in the GP2 Asia Series.

      1. And zero races in F1

  8. And if not Frederic, then Claire?

    If Frederic is the best available with F1; widen the scope.

  9. I wonder how smoothly the transition will be.
    It will surely set them back judging from their past.
    My guess is they will be a midfielder for next year and maybe the year after.
    I think it will be a very difficult time for a Leclerc.

  10. There’s no way they can get Wolff… Highly unlikely to get Horner. Seidl is a hard poach. So basically, they’re left with Otmar, Vasseur, Tost, Steiner and Capito. All uninspiring choices… But out of all of them Tost is probably the most enticing proposition.

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