Why there are no excuses for Frédéric Vasseur at Ferrari

( – On January 9, 2023, Frédéric Vasseur will officially take over as Ferrari team boss in Formula 1. And his great hope will be to end his first year at Ferrari by winning the title. For this purpose he was brought to Maranello. But Vasseur also knows: there is no magic button to press to bring Ferrari to the very top.

Frédéric Vasseur, boss of the Formula 1 team: Previously at Alfa Romeo, now at Ferrari



Mattia Binotto, Vasseur’s predecessor at the helm of the Ferrari team, must also have experienced this recently. Ferrari bosses John Elkann and Benedetto Vigna could have easily given Binotto another year, but seem to have lost faith in Binotto. The timing of the personnel decision at Ferrari speaks volumes.

The traditional Italian Formula 1 team replaced Binotto for one simple reason: they want to win the world title and they want the world title now.

What Ferrari plans to do with the new team boss

It is therefore not the “standard situation” in motorsport, where the results do not add up and where the team finds itself in a downward spiral that must be broken. No, the starting position at Ferrari before the 2023 season is completely different.

Vigna said it very well during the winter: “We have made progress. I’m happy with the progress, but not second place. I think the team has everything it needs to improve over time.

If second place was not deemed sufficient in 2022, then what the leaders expect from Ferrari in 2023 is clear: first place.

Lots of pressure for Vasseur in Ferrari’s first year

And so back to Vasseur, who previously worked in the Formula 1 midfield for Renault and Alfa Romeo. He is now dealing with a top team – and therefore has no grace period when getting used to his new environment: Ferrari is not about long-term ambitions and continuous development. In 2023, it’s all about victories and titles, with no ifs or buts. And there are no excuses.

It means a lot of pressure. Because the result that Ferrari has in mind has not been achieved in Maranello for 15 years. It’s no wonder some observers believe Vasseur will receive a bittersweet welcome drink at Ferrari at the start of 2023.

Especially since it is obvious that what is likely to happen if the start of the season does not go as desired for Ferrari: there will probably be voices who will question the change at the top of the team. All the more so if the bankruptcies and breakdowns of the previous season were to continue this year.

What Vasseur now needs to change at Ferrari

To avoid this criticism from the media and fans, Vasseur needs to make sure Ferrari is doing the right thing. But of course that’s easier said than done in the highly competitive Formula 1 and the pressure is on.

For Vasseur, the main thing is therefore to use the existing potential and eliminate costly mistakes. Therefore, his main focus should initially not be on the racing car itself, but on the structure of the team. With the question in mind: what went wrong in 2022 that led to such bad strategic decisions?

Photo Gallery: Flop 25: Ferrari’s biggest strategic disaster since 2015

In order to secure a fresh start here, Vasseur certainly doesn’t have to throw away the strategists. But one thing is clear: this is one of the areas where things can and must improve.

Positive for Vasseur: he is not starting from zero at Ferrari

So there are important tasks ahead of the new Ferrari team boss if he is to have a successful first season for Maranello.

But there are also things that play into his hands. Vasseur now joins a team that is on the rise. Ferrari has been making progress again for several years. And though the negative headlines dominated in 2022: Ferrari hadn’t been so successful in a long time.

The team structure also seems solid. Vasseur’s predecessor, Binotto, spent a lot of time early in his job aligning the various departments with each other to tune Ferrari for maximum success.

Technically, everything is ready for the 2023 season

At the beginning of January, Ferrari should also have an almost finished car. Binotto accompanied the development of the vehicle in winter, all the important decisions for the concept and all the improvements compared to the previous year were taken a long time ago.

Vasseur should also find a better starting position on the training side. The flaws that prevented eventual Ferrari wins in Spain and Azerbaijan in 2022 should have been resolved by now.

Photo gallery: Photo gallery: All Ferrari race directors in Formula 1 since 1950

They say: Ferrari tracked down reliability issues and corrected mistakes for the 2022 season. It was absolutely necessary: ​​in the second half of the season, the Formula 1 team drove with conservative engine settings, but according to from insiders, she increased driving again at the end of the season.

More: Ferrari is said to have made further progress in terms of reliability during the winter break, which should translate into even better driving performance in the 2023 season. This could mean more top speed, for example – and therefore less of a handicap compared to Red Bull, who were clearly number one in this regard in 2022.

Does Vasseur have the same overview as Binotto?

It will be exciting to see if Vasseur receives a holistic perspective at Ferrari similar to that of Binotto, who was not only responsible for the racing car, but also for driving and technical details.

Because it was one of Binotto’s great strengths as Ferrari team boss that he knew the Formula 1 car and its capabilities inside and out. He knew the complexity of the vehicle – and the power plays in the Formula 1 paddock, which can also impact performance.

What to do at Ferrari according to Binotto

But what should encourage Vasseur is that while his role at Ferrari may be difficult, it looks doable. At least that’s how Binotto said it himself. In the summer of 2022, the then Ferrari team boss said his racing team was on track to become world champions again. It just needs a few tweaks.

When asked explicitly what Ferrari needed to do differently to achieve great success, Binotto said: “I don’t think we have to do anything differently. I think we just have to keep going and continuously improving, focusing on each race.”

Frederic Vasseur and Mattia Binotto

Frédéric Vasseur (left) succeeds Mattia Binotto at Ferrari



“There are no magic buttons to press. And I don’t think we need to change either. We can do a good job. We have already proven that. Now it’s about step by step And whatever the result of 2022, we will try to prepare for 2023.”

Biggest task for Vasseur so far

And now it’s up to Vasseur to take on this task and bring it to fruition. He will do it with iron determination, even though he likes to show up relaxed and smiling in the paddock.

Or as Valtteri Bottas, who has known Vasseur for many years, puts it: “Frédéric can seem very relaxed and funny, but he can also be tough. He knows when it’s time to give a motivational speech or have constructive conversations. . It is good. “

Vasseur must now bring these qualities to Ferrari. And above all: he must succeed.

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