More Ferrari staff changes leaves ‘another question mark’ for Scuderia drivers

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in the rain at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in the rain.

As Ferrari entered the summer break on the back of yet another notable management change, former Williams driver Jack Aitken says that’s just another “big question” for the Ferrari drivers to have to deal with.

Last December, having watched as the team’s championship hopes imploded, then team boss Mattia Binotto handed in his resignation with the Italian replaced by Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur.

That was, according to paddock rumours, what swayed Laurent Mekies to leave the team with the sporting director passed over for the team boss job.

Ferrari have said farewell to Laurent Mekies, Diego Ioverno taking the role of sporting director

Instead, he signed with AlphaTauri where he’ll take up the reins next season when stalwart team boss Franz Tost retires.

Mekies officially left Ferrari after the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, the 46-year-old heading off for a period of gardening leave before starting at AlphaTauri on 1 January 2024.

Ferrari announced Diego Ioverno as their new sporting director, but while the Italian has been in the Ferrari set-up for over two decades, Aitken says such a high-profile move still weighs on the drivers, especially at a time when Ferrari are struggling to find form.

“It can do, it just depends,” he told the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast. “Ultimately the driver is not really a part of that upper echelon of the management so it’s not going to directly affect the driver.

“It will affect them in the sense of how that new management comes in and makes their presence felt, how smooth is the transition going to be, are they going to be able to take the reins as effectively as Laurent Mekies.

“It’s a bit of a question mark. And that’s not really what you want in a performance-orientated scenario.

“But it’s just another question mark at the end of the day.

“You hope that everything will transition smoothly, that you’ll come out with a better result at the end with this new with this change of personnel, but you can’t really be sure.” recommends

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When news of Mekies’ departure broke, Ferrari team boss Vasseur was quick to downplay the impact it would have on the team even though a month earlier he’d referred to the sporting director as “one of the pillars of the future of the company”.

Six weeks after that, he spoke of Mekies and chassis head David Sanchez’s exits, saying: “To lose two people in 1,600 is not a drama. It is absolutely not against Laurent, but you are speaking about two people in a group of more than 1000 people.

“For sure these individuals are important, but it is nothing compared to the group. The power of the team is always more important than the individuals.

“We are recruiting massively — we are not communicating, but we are recruiting massively — and we will do it step by step because you can’t put an organization in place in two weeks.”

Ferrari, who have yet to win a race this season and are fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, are said to have made a play for Red Bull technical director Pierre Wache but were turned down before setting their sights on Mercedes performance director Loic Serra who will reportedly join the Scuderia in 2025.

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