Netting an extra $10 million with their P6, Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur has taken a dig at Christian Horner over what he can now do with that “five times nothing”.
Vasseur was one of the more vocal team bosses as rumours began to swirl around the paddock claiming Red Bull have breached the 2021 budget cap ceiling.
That was later confirmed by the FIA, Red Bull found guilty of exceeding the cap by $2.2m although team boss Christian Horner was insistent that there was “zero benefit” from the overspend.
Vasseur is looking forward to seeing what he can do with five times zero.
“It’s the difference we have with the cost cap,” the Alfa Romeo team principal said to GPFans.
“I know one of my colleagues said two million is nothing but now we have five times nothing.”
Alfa Romeo went into the season finale in Abu Dhabi five points up on Aston Martin with it all to play for.
But it was evident in the practices and qualifying that it was the Aston Martin that had the better pace with Vasseur making the call for Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou to run interference on the Aston Martin team-mates in the grand prix.
Going with what Bottas called a “very defensive” strategy, Alfa Romeo couldn’t stop the Aston Martins from scoring but they did enough to prevent them from finishing higher in the race. The two teams ended tied on points, Alfa Romeo ahead by virtue of Bottas’ P5 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“It’s a huge difference for us because if we struggle during the season, we’ve a very high threshold in terms of cost per point,” Vasseur added.
“We couldn’t buy parts for a couple of months [in 2022].
“Next year, we can go back to buying parts throughout the season. It will be a big difference for us.”
But will Vasseur be around to spend the money?
As things stand it may not be Fred Vasseur who is in charge of that “five times nothing”, the Frenchman tipped to join Ferrari in January.
Ferrari confirmed Mattia Binotto’s exit on Tuesday, putting an end to months of speculation about the team boss’s future in the wake of Ferrari’s failure in the championship.
According to reports Ferrari have already been turned down by Christian Horner and Andreas Seidl, who they spoke to a year ago, while Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger also said no.
Vasseur is now Ferrari’s number one pick to replace Binotto with the team reportedly already in talks with him to negotiate his Alfa Romeo exit.
But that’s what it hinges on, Alfa Romeo – actually the Sauber team – has to be willing to let the 54-year-old out of his contract.
Vasseur has done a solid job as the Hinwil team’s boss, moving them away from the bottom row on the standing’s grid up into P6.
He also played a big part in signing Valtteri Bottas to the team as well as doing his part in the team’s talks with Audi, the German manufacturer linking up with Sauber in 2026.
As such Sauber may not be so willing to let Vasseur walk away.