Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari, 2023

Vasseur reveals talks with Binotto and Todt in preparation for Ferrari start

2023 F1 season

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New Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur revealed he has spoken to two notable predecessors in preparation for taking over the role.

He has already met with Mattia Binotto, who has been replaced by Vasseur after four years in charge of the Scuderia. Vasseur was approached to take over his position shortly after last year’s season finale.

“The process was crystal clear,” Vasseur told selected media including RaceFans. “Even if we had some rumours in the press before Abu Dhabi or during Abu Dhabi, we didn’t discuss before. We had the first discussion the week after Abu Dhabi and it was very, very quick as a process.

“Then I had a call with Mattia and I even met Mattia during the handover and we had a one-to-one discussion and I [will] thank Mattia for this because I appreciated the move from Mattia. They had to wait for me to discuss together, it was really appreciated from my side.”

Vasseur was team principal of the Sauber-run Alfa Romeo team until the end of last year. However despite manufacturer Audi arrival at the team due in 2026, he did not want to turn down the opportunity offered by Ferrari chairman John Elkann.

“When I had a call from Ferrari I didn’t share the call with everybody in the world,” said Vasseur. “It was my own reflection and my own discussion with John Elkann. I didn’t share it at all with Audi before the announcement.”

“I had a chat with someone from Audi and they told me that you can’t refuse an offer from Ferrari,” he added.

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Binotto’s departure came after Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna described their disappointment at finishing second. The team’s last world championship triumph was 15 years ago.

Vasseur thanked predecessor Binotto for his counsel
Vasseur is unconcerned by the pressure from higher up in the organisation to deliver and is confident he has the autonomy he requires to run the team as he chooses to.

“The Gestione Sportiva, the team, is part of the bigger organisation of Ferrari. But I have a CEO, it’s Benedetto Vigna, and the chairman for the company, and the situation is crystal clear.

“But even last year at Sauber I had to report to the chairman of the group and you have always a boss. It’s not a new situation for me now that I’m running the team, that I have the delegation to do it and I will do it as I want.

“We have enough discussion with Benedetto and John on a daily basis to discuss about key points, and this is crystal clear and it’s working perfectly.”

Vasseur described his relationship with Vigna as “very, very direct – I have Benedetto for dinner two or three times a week and on the phone every single day.”

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The arrival of Vasseur has invited comparisons with one of Ferrari’s most successful chiefs, his fellow Frenchman Jean Todt. Vasseur has a long relationship with the former FIA president, having formed the ART team with his son Nicolas.

Jean Todt, Ferrari, 2005
Todt was Ferrari’s most successful team principal
But while he joked the pair have “nationality and size” in common, Vasseur sees little similarity between the Ferrari of 2023 and the situation the team was in when Todt arrived three decades prior.

“Today F1 is changing -continuous change in F1, in the structure, in the size of the team, the regulation with the cost cap,” he explained.

“For sure I had some discussion with Jean because obviously [he] stays close to the F1 world. We exchanged by WhatsApp a couple of weeks ago and I will meet him soon.

“All the advice is welcome, for sure, but I think also it’s quite difficult today to compare the situation of ’94, ’95 and 2022.”

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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One comment on “Vasseur reveals talks with Binotto and Todt in preparation for Ferrari start”

  1. He may not have been the greatest team principal, but I always had the impression Binotto had his heart in the right place. Wishing him the best, whatever the future might bring.

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