Ex-Ferrari engineer predicts when Fred Vasseur effect will fully take hold

Henry Valantine
Fred Vasseur, Ferrari, looks serious. Bahrain February 2023

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur looking serious. Bahrain February 2023

Former Ferrari engineer Rob Smedley believes the middle of the season will be when “green shoots” of the changes brought about by Fred Vasseur will begin to show themselves.

The Ferrari team principal took on the role from Mattia Binotto at the beginning of January, moving across from Alfa Romeo after his predecessor resigned from the post at the end of last season.

And Vasseur has set about trying to improve the Scuderia’s fortunes after the team fell short in both World Championship challenges last season, with Ferrari not having won a title since 2008.

The new team boss has already highlighted a department which “needs to improve”, though he declined to reveal which exact area of the team that was in public – and development work is already underway on the SF-23 to try and close the performance deficit Ferrari currently face to Red Bull.

But Smedley, who operated as Felipe Massa’s race engineer in his time with the Scuderia, has backed Vasseur to get the best out of his team, though the impact will not be seen for a few more months yet.

“I’ve got a rule that you should be able to see good people who are effective and can just get on with it and, by the way, are allowed and given the tools to be able to get on with it, you will see changes within six months,” Smedley explained on the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

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“So you’re not going to see anything instantaneously, because that would just be funny to expect that, but certainly within six months, you can start to see the green shoots of the strategy that he’s going to put in place.

“So I would say probably the middle of this season, we’re going to start to see differences because don’t forget, if you think about it in reality, your first month is just doing interviews and talking to the media, running around trying to learn 5% of the people’s names that you meet.

“And then after that, you can start to get a feel for the place, you can start to understand how the place works, and then you can start to make changes after, say, three months – but the green shoots of those changes, you’re not going to see for another three months or whatever, until they start to take shape.

“So I would say middle of the season, we should start seeing the positive effects of Fred Vasseur hopefully.”

Ferrari sit fourth in the Constructors’ Championship after two races this season, with Charles Leclerc having retired from second place in Bahrain.