Ferrari looked like a team reborn at the start of 2022, with the new regulation changes seemingly giving the team a new lease of life.
Charles Leclerc’s early race wins led the team to build up a healthy lead in both championships, making the Scuderia many pundits’ favourites for the title.
Unfortunately for the team, reliability issues and strategic disasters saw the team drop a large haul of points, allowing Max Verstappen and Red Bull to overcome the deficit and cruise to both championships.
Following this heartbreak, Ferrari decided to replace team principal Mattia Binotto with Fred Vasseur, hoping that new leadership could make a difference to their title hopes.
The 2023 season opener in Bahrain sadly proved that Vasseur has not been able to solve Ferrari’s problems yet, as Charles Leclerc was forced to retire from the race with an energy store related issue while running in the podium places.
This reoccurrence of last season’s issues has reportedly infuriated Leclerc, with the Monegasque driver requesting a crisis meeting with Ferrari president John Elkann.
It has been reported the Leclerc requested this meeting to seek assurances about Ferrari’s future but team principal Fred Vasseur has explained that this was a planned meeting.
“We spoke with the drivers, Elkann and [Benedetto] Vigna after winter testing, and we will speak again together after Imola. These meetings are planned,” he confirmed.
Charles Leclerc’s contract with Ferrari expires at the end of next season and there have been rumours that should the Scuderia not become true title challengers in that time, the 25-year-old could depart the team.
Mercedes have reportedly shown interest in Leclerc with Lewis Hamilton’s future still unknown, sparking debate that a move could happen in the next couple of years.
The fallout from Ferrari’s poor start to 2023 goes further than just Leclerc, with multiple members of staff such as head of concept David Sanchez already having departed the team.
It has been reported that race director Laurent Mekies could be next, with Alpine, the FIA and F1 all offering contracts to the Ferrari man.