Fred Vasseur leans on Jean Todt’s ‘mega’ Ferrari experience with winter talks

Jamie Woodhouse
Jean Todt walks past Ferrari on the grid. Qatar, November 2021.

Jean Todt walks past the car of his former team Ferrari on the grid. Qatar, November 2021.

New Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur said he has been in contact with Jean Todt, a Ferrari icon for his achievements in that same role.

After a 2022 campaign where Ferrari started out with the fastest challenger in the form of the F1-75, yet wilted away in the title fight against Red Bull, Mattia Binotto announced his resignation from the team principal role, effective as of the end of the year.

Strategic mishaps, power unit reliability issues and key driver errors all combined to see Ferrari go from leaders in the Constructors’ Championship and Drivers’ standings through Charles Leclerc, to distant runners-up to Red Bull.

Vasseur then has made the switch from Alfa Romeo, where he had served as team boss since 2017, to try and bring Ferrari’s barren spell to an end, the Scuderia having not tasted title glory since all the way back in 2008, the year after Todt’s time in the role ended.

That came following a record-breaking era of success for Ferrari under Todt, the Frenchman having taken the role in 1993 and then overseeing a run of six consecutive Constructors’ titles and five Drivers’ title successes between 1999-2004. Ferrari also won the 2007 Constructors’ title.

And it is no surprise then to hear that Vasseur has spoken with Todt over the winter to get his input on how he will approach the role.

“For sure we had contacts during the winter time, and time to discuss together,” Vasseur told Sky Sports F1 following the launch of Ferrari’s 2023 challenger, the SF-23.

“But it is also perhaps difficult to compare the two periods, it was 30 years ago.

“But the experience of Jean is mega. I think it’s a huge opportunity for me, to discuss with him and to get his feeling and feedback.”

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Todt put the puzzle pieces in place for Ferrari’s relentless success at the time, bringing in Michael Schumacher from Benetton ahead of the 1996 campaign, followed by the team’s designer Rory Byrne and technical director Ross Brawn.

So, will Vasseur look to bring fresh faces into the Scuderia in a bid to repeat Todt’s masterstroke? Well, first he wants to get a better feel for how the team is working.

“Yeah sure, but I need to know the organisation, I need to know the people,” said Vasseur.

“I think we have a good group of people that are working together. But I need to understand exactly what is happening to the team, do it step by step.”