Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Changes to Ferrari leadership structure “in the coming weeks” – Vasseur

RaceFans Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur is planning to make changes at the top of the team in the near future but expects it will begin a process of continual adjustment.

Become a RaceFans Supporter and go ad-free

RaceFans operates thanks in part to the support of its readers. In order to help fund the development and growth of the site please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter.

For just £1 per month/£12 per year you will also be upgraded to an ad-free account. Sign up and find out more below:

In brief

Vasseur plans continual change at Ferrari

Ferrari recently confirmed the departure of sporting director Laurent Mekies, who is joining AlphaTauri. Vasseur said revisions to the team’s leadership will begin soon and he doesn’t plan to leave it unchanged for long.

“We will make some changes in the coming weeks [and] in the coming months, in the coming years because some topics are a bit longer than some others,” he said. “But it’s a permanent evolution and permanent improvement.”

Vasseur, who took charge of the team in January, said he is “miles away” from having the structure he wants in place. “When you are doing my job that you don’t have to imagine that there is a perfect structure,” he said. “You need to be permanently [moving] forward, basically.

“You always need to to improve and always need to change things. If you stay with the same structure two years in a row, you are dead, because all the others will improve. It means that I don’t have a clear picture to say: ‘I have to do this, and full stop, and it will work’. It would be stupid.”

Melbourne gives up right to season opener

The promoters of the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne gave up their claim to hold the season-opening round of the Formula 1 world championship when they agreed a new, long-term deal with the series last year according to The Age. The newspaper also claims the promoters agreed a substantial increase in their fee in order to see off a rival bid.

In February last year the Sydney contingent presented Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali with a proposal to move the race to a new permanent circuit, built at a cost of up to $300 million (£236m), and offered an eye-watering annual fee of $100m, plus a share of the ticket sales. In response the Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews took over negotiations with Domenicali.

Melbourne is reported to have paid less than Sydney offered for the new 10-year deal which was announced in June last year, but they relinquished rights to the season-opener and agreed to pay more for the last three years on their previous deal, covering 2023 to ’25.

Australia has not held the season-opening race since the 2020 event was cancelled on the day practice was due to begin as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bahrain will hold the first race on the 2024 F1 calendar.

Blomqvist relishing challenge of ovals

Tom Blomqvist is eager to take on the “huge challenge” of racing on IndyCar’s high-speed over circuits when he joins the series full-time next year. It will be his first regular single-seater drive since 2021.

“I’m excited getting on the ovals,” he said. “Obviously that’s a completely new discipline that I have to get my head around.

“I’m quite lucky that I’ve got an opportunity in a few months’ time to hopefully get my first outing there, get a feel for that. But so far it’s just in the virtual world. That’s my only real experience of driving or kind of racing on an oval.

“At the end of the day we’ve seen quite a few drivers come over into IndyCar with very little if not no experience on the ovals and figure that out. If you’re a top-line driver, you should be able to get your head around those things.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Comment of the day

Ferrari needs a stronger team leader than either of its current drivers, says Mayrton:

In my opinion Ferrari needs a Lauda or Schumacher to get back to winning. Some one who takes the lead, has little consideration for what the team wants and does but takes them into a winning direction by telling them what to do. From the current grid Max could do it (preferably when he gets rid of some excessive cursing) attitude wise and skill wise but I do not think he will be very interested in doing it. Changing team bosses won’t work as they all are hierarchical pleasers (and some of that on top also money driven). You need a character that really doesn’t care about all of that.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Pimbers4955 and Dawson Johnstone!

On this day in motorsport

  • 45 years ago today Ronnie Peterson took pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix in his Lotus 79

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

29 comments on “Changes to Ferrari leadership structure “in the coming weeks” – Vasseur”

  1. News circulating that Alex Palou has told McLaren that he won’t be racing for them next season, despite last year’s contract shenanigans. I can only assume that he’s holding them to their word that they “won’t stand in his way of an F1 drive”. So who’s signing him? If he ends up at AT, that’s harsh in Lawson.

    1. Must be Alpine… sounds exactly what Piastri announced to them just over a year ago (or was it Alonso?)

    2. @eurobrun Definitely not AT in any case & even other teams are doubtful because keeping the current lineup or other drivers are ahead in priority order.

  2. Actually, the deal until 2035 signed over a year ago included a clause for a minimum five season openers within that hosting deal, so apparently, this got removed later if I’ve interpreted correctly.
    Not that they still couldn’t be the opening location again someday.

  3. Zak Brown can fit in a racing car?

    1. Yes, somehow.

      1. There are racing classes for trucks as well

        1. Electroball76
          12th August 2023, 17:39

          Formula Bun, ChompCar, Catering 7.. I’m happy to jump in anything, as long as you can do donuts in it

  4. “We will make some changes in the coming weeks [and] in the coming months, in the coming years because some topics are a bit longer than some others,”

    Maybe, just maybe, the penny finally dropped. It would be nice to see Ferrari doing something other than failing to complete each race, each season.

  5. I both agree and disagree with the COTD

    Yes, Ferrari do need a strong leadership that is able to cut out the superfluous and focus the team to win championships.

    However, and with due respect, in my opinion the concept that a driver is the force that impels the a team toward championships is a myth. Ferrari were dominant because of Brawn, Todt, Bridgestone, Ecclestone, politicking etc. Schumacher, despite being a good driver, didn’t bestow greatness on the team even though he had a ruthless desire to win (what driver doesn’t?). Rather, Schumacher had greatness bestowed upon him due to range of factors that made him (and his car) untouchable during Ferrari’s dominant years.

    1. That’s a direct contradiction to what Brawn, Todt, Smedley, Domenicali, Briatore and Symonds (Benneton) have said about Schumi.

    2. Don’t forget what schumacher did the years before the dominance came, in the end schumacher was part of the only group of people who managed to make ferrari a strong enough team to win titles in the last 40+ years.

      1. Schumacher didn’t get his reputation at Ferrari. This is what many overlook.

        Ferrari knew they needed Schumacher because he was Schumacher. Not because they thought he had some vague potential. He was right on it fighting for the title in 1997, 1998 and 1999. That’s why they hired him. Not because he could win in 2004. That was nice, but many could have done the same.

        1. Robert Henning
          12th August 2023, 15:31

          Thank you for stating this!

          Michael was easily the most talented driver when he moved to Ferrari!

      2. You forget that Ferrari won with Kimi.

    3. Many drivers don’t, actually. Schumacher was relentless. He set new standards for driver fitness and preparation. He was often at Fiorano until sunset. He drove more kilometers in testing than entire seasons of racing. Todt brought him to Ferrari, and then, and only then, Brawn and others followed. They wanted to work with Schumacher, not Alesi and Berger, or anyone else.

      The F1 Beyond the Grid podcast had a great interview with three senior Mercedes people one or two years ago. They all singled out Schumacher as the most interesting/compelling/special driver they worked with.

      1. Robert Henning
        12th August 2023, 15:32

        Michael and Ferrari set the standard which frankly is still yet to be surpassed in terms of consistency or relentlessness.

        They were the true invincibles.

        1. Given the length of Mercedes’ dominance, it’s a bit surprising that Schumacher’s 2002 record hasn’t been matched. He was on the podium every single race that year. Given modern reliability, and there being three places on the podium, it’s very hard but not impossible. Or well, it apparently is!

          Vettel nearly got it in 2011 with a single 4th and a technical DNF (puncture) from the lead.

          Hamilton also went 17/19 in 2015, but Mercedes just wasn’t competitive in Singapore.

          Verstappen is currently on 12/12.

      2. MichaelN, I feel that there is some retrospective projection from you with that post, given it is written with the knowledge that they would move there later on and then saying that it could only have happened because of Schumacher. From what we have heard from Brawn and Byrne, it seems you have oversimplified the situation and probably placed too much importance on Schumacher alone.

        Brawn has talked about how there were other factors that pushed him away from Benetton, and conflict between Brawn and Briatore over the management of Benetton’s technical department is something he’s highlighted as a motivation to leave Benetton.

        Brawn has indicated that, because of his disagreements with Briatore over the running of Benetton, he had already given some thoughts to leaving Benetton before Schumacher announced his intentions to leave for Ferrari. Byrne, similarly, has also given hints that poor relations with Briatore motivated him to leave Benetton, although in his case he was planning to retire to enable him to leave the politics of motorsport behind.

        At the same time, we have the ongoing restructuring and aggressive recruitment plan that Todt had initiated after moving to Ferrari in 1994, which was centred around a centralisation of Ferrari’s resources that John Barnard and his design office in the UK did not fit into.

        You therefore have multiple different factors which created an incentive for those senior staff to leave and to head to Ferrari, rather than the over-simplistic idea of just following Schumacher.

        If relations between Briatore and the technical department at Benetton had been more amicable, and especially if Brawn was given the control over the technical department he was promised, Schumacher alone probably wouldn’t have been a powerful enough incentive for those senior staff to leave Benetton on a large scale.

        Equally, if Schumacher had stayed at Benetton, but Brawn and Briatore had remained at odds over how to manage the technical department, it is plausible that they would have left because of their discontent over the way Briatore was managing things.

        Finally, without Todt’s major restructuring taking place in that period, you wouldn’t necessarily have had the opportunities for those staff to move to Ferrari at the same time either. You needed vacancies for those staff to move into, plus strong incentives for those staff to make the move – in that, the opportunity for those staff to work with Schumacher did have some attraction, but it doesn’t seem to have been quite as powerful an incentive as you suggest.

        1. Again contradicts the story’s told by the big three. They wanted to join Michael at Ferrari because they had faith in his abilities to bring Ferrari to the top

          1. osnola, the information about Brawn’s difficult relationship at Benetton with Briatore comes from Brawn himself – are you therefore saying that Brawn is contradicting himself?

  6. Jonathan Parkin
    12th August 2023, 13:06

    Interesting question, but does anything happen in actual Las Vegas. All the big events (Pop star residencies, F1, Super Bowl, filming for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) actually occurs in Paradise not Las Vegas

  7. Who is paying that Melbourne money? Is it publicly funded, or a business (like Zandvoort)?

    1. Taxpayers.
      There are some corporate sponsors who assist, but the bulk of the money comes from people who’d rather it be spent on health care and education.

      1. Thanks. It seems like a lot of money, but apparently it’s not a big deal to folks there. It’d certainly become an election issue otherwise.

        1. We’re a sport obsessed nation fuelled by alcohol and gambling.

          The current Victorian state government has taken great pride in being the sporting capital of the nation (a claim oft-contested by the other big states.) and has retained government control for coming up to 9 years now.

          The CEO of the paper running this headline is the former national treasurer of the opposing party.

          So yes, that would be the conclusion they’re hoping for.

      2. I’m honestly not sure about that… I think Albert Park and the attention F1 brings to it is an absolute boon for the economy that is well worth the spend. Unlike what the Commonwealth Games would have brought 🤣

        1. That would be the Commonwealth Games that the very same premier of the Victorian Government was ultra-enthused about hosting only a year ago? Now to do a backflip and completely embarrass all of Australia on the global (or at least Commonwealth) stage?
          Regardless, the Commonwealth Games are not a ‘for-profit’ business – but that’s exactly what F1 is. The moment F1 no longer turns out decent numbers, it will be dropped and doing so will make a lot of people very happy.

          As for being a sports-obsessed country… Yeah, Australia loves sports – but not F1 so much. Australia is football and cricket country.

          And on the Victorian government being so wonderful – just remember how popular they were during the pandemic… Nobody has forgotten where the strictest and longest lasting lockdowns anywhere in the world outside of China took place.
          Their re-election last year was very much more about how bad the alternative was.

Comments are closed.