Fred Vasseur warned of potential ‘short life’ as Ferrari team principal

Sam Cooper
Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur is interviewed. Sao Paulo November 2021.

Frederic Vasseur wears headphones as he is interviewed by the media ahead of the race. Interlagos November 2021.

Fred Vasseur has not even taken the Ferrari job officially but is already being warned of a potential “short life” in the role.

The current Sauber boss looks the clear favourite to take over from Mattia Binotto after the Swiss-born Italian announced his resignation at the end of November.

Given Vasseur’s previous links with Charles Leclerc – the pair most recently worked together at Sauber in 2018 – the 54-year-old Frenchman seems the ideal candidate to bring on board in order to keep the Monegasque happy, something Binotto struggled to do.

But even if he was successful at that part of the job, there is no guarantee the results would come and the Ferrari team boss role has been earmarked as the most difficult job in F1.

Toto Wolff remarked that Binotto had lasted longer than he expected while former Ferrari man turned F1 president Stefano Domenicali suggested even a second place finish was not enough.

And now Vasseur has been given the warning that all Ferrari team bosses “usually have a short life” with only Jean Todt proving the exception.

“If you get an offer from Ferrari, you have to go!” Peter Sauber, founder of the eponymous team, told Blick. “But if you know the history of Ferrari – back to the company founder Enzo – then you know that the team bosses usually have a short life. With the exception of Jean Todt, who ruled there for more than 12 years!”

Looking through the history books shows that Sauber is right with 18 of the 22 men to have been Ferrari team principal lasting three years or fewer.

Todt is the longest serving having been there from 1993 to 2007 while Domenicali survived six years from 2008 to 2014.

Fred Vasseur would be a fool not to take Ferrari job

With six years experience in F1, Vasseur is no stranger to the politics that run through the sport. He first experienced that at Renault when he fell out with then team principal Cyril Abiteboul but since moving to Sauber, life has been a little more peaceful for the Frenchman.

As an engine customer, he will no doubt have been keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings at Ferrari so will know just what he is getting himself into.

But the chance to manage one of the top teams is not one that comes up very often and Vasseur would be a fool to pass it up, especially with rumours that Audi will be looking to install their own boss when they take over.

Despite this, Vasseur will know the Ferrari seat is the hottest of hot seats and regardless of how well he does, he is only a couple of poor results away from questions being raised.

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