Whilst the drivers’ silly season is complete, the team principals’ market has gone into pandemonium, with Alfa Romeo’s Frederic Vasseur having been confirmed as Mattia Binotto’s replacement at Ferrari.
Vasseur’s move to Ferrari was expected even before Binotto’s resignation had been announced, with the Italians hopeful that Vasseur can emulate the success of the last French Ferrari team principal, Jean Todt.
He will officially start working for Ferrari on the 9th January, with Binotto’s last day being the 31st December.
His move will likely come to the delight of Charles Leclerc, who worked with Vasseur during his debut season and during his junior days.
Leclerc’s debut season in 2018 came at Alfa Romeo, with Vasseur having been his first team principal in the sport.
Speaking prior to the announcement, Leclerc revealed that he has a “good relationship” with the Frenchman, whose honesty is a trait he likes.
“Ferrari is of course very different,” Leclerc said.
“I can only comment on my experiences with Fred, which have always been good even from the junior categories.
“He was always very clear and honest, which is something I like. We’ve always had a good relationship and he’s a very good team principal.”
Whilst the team can be excited about a new team principal, saying goodbye to Binotto has been very challenging for the Maranello-based side.
It can’t be forgotten that whilst he was only team principal for four years, he’s actually worked for the team for the last 28 years, after joining the Scuderia in 1995 as an intern.
Binotto started working for the Italians even before Leclerc was born, demonstrating just how long he’s been with the side.
Leclerc posted a message on social media thanking Binotto for everything he has done for him.
Despite this, the 25-year-old is hopeful that the team can “come closer” to claiming their first title since 2008, with the question now being if Vasseur can deliver it for the Scuderia.
“We are in a time of upheaval, but I have every confidence that the right decisions will be made and we will come closer to our goal of becoming world champion next year,” said Leclerc.
2022 was an odd year for Leclerc and Ferrari, with the season having started with so much promise following two wins from the opening three races.
They have endured several issues during the season, commonly through their own doing; however, Leclerc still thinks the team “can be happy” with their campaign, following the abysmal 2020 and 2021 seasons.
“If you think back to 2020 and 2021, it was a good season because we finished second in both championships, so we can be happy with that,” he added.
“But if you look more closely, there was a very frustrating middle part of the season where we just couldn’t make it on Sundays. So I have mixed feelings.”