Top Ferrari engineer set to join McLaren – reports

Another key member of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team has departed.

Over the winter, Frederic Vasseur moved to Maranello to replace ousted team boss Mattia Binotto, who was followed through the exit door shortly afterwards by chief strategist Inaki Rueda.

And now, specialist Italian publications report that Ferrari’s head of vehicle concept, David Sanchez, has departed.

La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that the Frenchman, who joined Ferrari in 2012 and was a key ally of the axed Binotto’s, will now go on ‘gardening leave’.

Sky Italia, meanwhile, claims that former Renault and McLaren engineer Sanchez will now return to a British team – believed to be Woking-based McLaren.

Sources close to Ferrari denied that Sanchez’s departure is linked with the disappointing results of the Bahrain GP, but former team boss Stefano Domenicali warned the Italian team that it must now tread a fine line.

“Saying ‘we are Ferrari’ is no longer enough,” the F1 CEO told Sportmediaset.

“They now need to work on the weak points in order to grow without becoming typically Italian and emotional. Only with determination can you get out of difficult situations,” Domenicali added.

Curiously, as Domenicali warned about emotional reactions, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has reportedly given the German team’s technical director Mike Elliott an “ultimatum” related to improving the 2023 car.

Wolff says decisions need to be made quickly and correctly.

“Otherwise this season is over early and the next one is already in jeopardy,” he warned.

It is rumoured that James Allison could be set to return to Mercedes to help the former champions radically develop its disappointing new single seater.

“It takes time,” Elliott said, “but you will see some visible changes on the car at the next grand prix.”

Wolff has already flagged potential changes to Mercedes’ unique ‘no sidepod’ concept.

“To be honest,” said George Russell, “if we put a Red Bull sidepod on it next week, I don’t think it will make it any better.

“I think the magic happens under the floor and other areas of the car that we can’t see.”

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