Frederic Vasseur needs “time” to settle into his new job as Ferrari team boss.
That is the view of Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, following Mattia Binotto’s ousting – with Sauber-Alfa Romeo chief and Frenchman Vasseur set to start work early in the new year.
“I had my first contact with him as a Ferrari driver yesterday. I called him,” the Spaniard told Spanish media at the Estrella Galacia museum.
“It is a change that we hope will be for the better,” Sainz added.
“Whenever a new person joins the team there is extra motivation to do well and the team will try to take another step forward. Ferrari is a giant, there are 1,300 people and we have to give Fred time.
“He will need time to see what changes the team needs, but I have heard very good things about him and I know him personally because he wanted to sign me to go to Renault. We had contact and negotiations,” Sainz revealed.
“I know he’s going to do well.”
Already, however, F1 insiders are predicting trouble ahead for Ferrari’s latest team boss.
“Vasseur is certainly good,” former team founder Gian Carlo Minardi told Corriere dello Sport. “But I would not have changed Mattia Binotto.
“He deserved another chance.”
But former F1 driver Marc Surer thinks Frenchman Vasseur is well equipped for the task due to his “very thick skin”.
“Alfa Romeo had a number of bad years and he managed to pull the team out of that to some degree,” he told formel1.de.
“He has received a lot of criticism in the previous seasons, but he has always remained calm. That means you can also survive at Ferrari.”
And Surer thinks Ferrari was right to make a fundamental change after the often calamitous 2022 season.
“Binotto has a great technical background, but during the races he’s basically just useless, I’m sorry,” he said.
“He accepted way too many of the team’s mistakes and tried to justify everything. But you can’t just do that. There has to be consequences and Vasseur knows that.”
Ferrari insider Leo Turrini, meanwhile, insists that Vasseur has headwinds ahead of him.
“Vasseur is a racing expert and he inherits a new car, which can be both a bonus but also an alibi in case of bad results,” he said.
“He will have to lead a team of more than 2000 people plus two drivers, as well as revolutionise the pit wall, fix communication gaps, restore political weight, and finally return a winning mentality to a team that has been losing for 15 years,” said the Italian.
Indeed, the Daily Mail newspaper insists Red Bull boss Christian Horner was offered the deal but turned it down.
“There is too much politics below the surface at Ferrari,” a source close to the Briton said. “Too many egos.
“If someone starts succeeding, someone else pulls him down.”