Fred Vasseur reveals strong Ferrari recruitment drive – but there’s one big problem

Oliver Harden
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur looks on in the paddock at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur looks on in the paddock.

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has reiterated his frustration with the long periods of gardening leave in place in F1, which is slowing his efforts to transform the team’s fortunes.

F1’s most famous team remain without a victory after 11 races of 2023 and have experienced a turbulent year off track, with key figures including Laurent Mekies and David Sanchez taking up new positions with AlphaTauri and McLaren respectively.

At last month’s Canadian Grand Prix, Vasseur revealed he had completed the signing of a “top guy” and expressed his disappointment that the unnamed individual is unable to begin work at Ferrari until 2025.

Fred Vasseur frustrated by Ferrari’s waiting game

Asked by Italian publication Corriere dello Sport why he has chosen to announce the signing but not the identities of his recent hires, Vasseur said: “Because they are still working in other teams and we don’t know when we will be able to have them with us.

“The timescales we have in Formula 1 are not those of a football coach: if I take an engineer I can use him maybe two years later and his work will take effect in the third year.

“This year we will hire around 80 engineers, half new and the other half to replace those who leave, either retire or are moved to other areas. We will announce the names when they enrol their children in school…. We must act discreetly to try to reduce their gardening period as much as possible.”

Having joined Ferrari in 2018, sporting director and assistant team boss Mekies oversaw his last race on the Ferrari pit wall at last weekend’s Hungarian GP, with the Frenchman set to take some time out before replacing long-serving Franz Tost as AlphaTauri team principal in 2024.

While sad to see him go, Vasseur insisted he could not stand in Mekies’ way – and confirmed his responsibilities will be split between as many as four people including Diego Ioverno, who has been credited for Ferrari’s improvement in pit stops in 2023. recommends

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On Mekies, he said: “We went to the same school in France, we’ve known each other for 25 years, he helped me a lot when I arrived at Ferrari, our relationship has always been very good and I want it to continue like that when we are competitors.

“It’s hard to part with Laurent but he is rightly ambitious: he will be one of the ten team principals in Formula 1, I couldn’t deny him this chance.

“We will distribute his competences internally among three to four people: Diego Ioverno, who has recently returned to the pit wall and is therefore visible, will deal with regulations and relations with the FIA.

“But we will have to decide how many people to dedicate to aerodynamics, what line to take for the new 2026 regulations, how many resources to move from 2024 to 2026, all delicate and strategic issues.”

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