Ferrari chairman John Elkann admits the team has lacked a clear and strong leadership structure with accountability since Jean Todt and his successor Stefano Domenicali were at the helm.
Todt was Ferrari team principal during their golden era of F1 success as they won six consecutive Constructors’ titles between 1999-2004, Michael Schumacher winning five Drivers’ Championships in that time, technical director Ross Brawn and chief designer Rory Byrne also among the key senior staff.
However, Ferrari’s 2008 Constructors’ crown, now with Domenicali as team principal, remains their most recent title success.
Strong Ferrari F1 management structure ‘just left us’
Skip forward to the present day and Fred Vasseur now holds the Ferrari team principal role, looking to end their extended barren spell without championship glory, having taken over from Mattia Binotto.
Speaking to the BBC, it was put to Elkann that Binotto’s ousting was seen as a fresh example of Ferrari bosses sticking their nose in F1 business, which would not happen back when Todt and Brawn were calling the shots.
In agreement, Elkann replied: “We had a very clear-functioning organisation when he [Todt] was leading it and the reality is that we are one company and we feel very proud to be one company, which is something that particularly in the last years we have been trying to encourage, but that is also linked to having clear accountability and responsibility.
“If you trace back, we haven’t had that culture since Jean Todt and then Stefano were leading. It just left us.
“Accountability is that you own your responsibility and somehow a blame culture deflects that. So it’s not about blaming, it’s about being responsible. And that was a major cultural difference that we had.
“So if we look at 2020, I remember that there was such disappointment. That’s when I realised we had to take this very seriously and it was important to look at what was happening and be aware of it and work.
“We were not going to be competitive until 2022 – and everyone was very much in denial about this. And then we actually were able to work over these years and be competitive in 2022.
“So focus definitely is an area where if it is applied, but then you need a culture that is able to use that focus in a way that pushes full responsibility and accountability and ultimately a no-blame culture is a prerequisite of it.”
Ferrari are reportedly closing in on agreeing new contracts for both of their drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, their current deals expiring at the end of F1 2024.