Ferrari to sign Mercedes chief

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur is looking to poach more talent from Mercedes this year.

In a strategic move to bolster their ranks, Ferrari is reportedly vying to secure the services of a prominent figure, believed to be Loic Serra, currently associated with Mercedes as their performance director. 

Fred Vasseur, the team principal at Ferrari, has dropped the strongest hint yet that Serra is their target, expressing a desire for him to join the Scuderia before the 2025 season.

Rumors had been circulating for weeks regarding Vasseur’s potential major signing, with speculation pointing towards Loic Serra, a pivotal figure at Mercedes. 

However, due to Serra’s existing contractual obligations with Mercedes, Ferrari would need to wait until 2025 for his potential arrival. 

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While neither Ferrari nor Mercedes have officially confirmed Serra’s involvement, Vasseur has now provided a clearer indication of their intentions.

Vasseur’s determination to expedite Serra’s transition is evident, as he plans to engage in discussions with Toto Wolff, his counterpart at Mercedes and a close friend. 

Vasseur revealed his intentions in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, stating, “We have hired about 25 people, but we are looking for more… 

“We have signed with a leading name, which should start on 1 January 2025 but we are trying to avoid that time. 

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“How can I get Toto Wolff to release him sooner? 

“I’ll try it when we’re on the boat together.”

Drawing inspiration from a past precedent involving Red Bull, Vasseur referenced the case of Laurent Mekies, the former sporting director for Ferrari who transitioned to AlphaTauri’s team boss. 

Negotiations were successfully conducted, resulting in Mekies departing Ferrari after the Hungarian Grand Prix to begin a gardening leave before officially joining the Red Bull junior team on January 1, 2024. 

Vasseur believes that such arrangements are feasible, emphasising the importance of fostering positive relationships to facilitate talent movement.

“The first ones you take are the most difficult, then the others seeing them follow suit,” Vasseur stated, reflecting on the challenges and successes of recruitment. 

This sentiment supports the assertions made by Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt, who suggests that Vasseur’s strategy extends beyond Serra. 

Schmidt contends that Vasseur aims to leverage Serra’s arrival to entice Red Bull’s technical director, Pierre Waché, to consider a move to Ferrari.

Schmidt explained, “I believe Loïc Serra was chosen carefully… 

“He is one of the best friends of Pierre Waché, the technical director of Red Bull. 

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“The two often spend hours together in the paddock, even though they are from rival teams… 

“I think Vasseur is also trying to get Pierre Waché through this connection. 

“From what I hear from Red Bull, [Vasseur] has been going at it and was really close [to signing Waché], and maybe he’s still trying.”