Fred Vasseur sent stark warning before joining Ferrari

Mattia Binotto insisted throughout 2022 that in-house changes weren't needed to the team's strategic line-up, despite countless errors.

2022 was an incredibly frustrating year for Ferrari, with the side having often had the best package at their disposal during the campaign, only to be outdone by their own errors.

The Scuderia were presumably in shock after Charles Leclerc won two of the opening three races this year, with many suddenly labelling the Monegasque as the favourite to win the Drivers’ Championship.

It almost appeared that this label of being favourites spooked the Maranello-based outfit, as errors suddenly crept in starting from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

At Imola, Leclerc span out of P3 after pushing too hard to catch Sergio Pérez, something he didn’t need to do so early in the year.

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Even that error by the 25-year-old had many wondering why Ferrari didn’t tell him to bring home third, with the driver having instead finished well off the rostrum.

Ferrari went on to make several strategic errors themselves, without the assistance of the drivers, with Leclerc having often suffered the brunt of the team’s mishaps.

Leclerc lost so many victories through strategic blunders, to the point where they were getting “such basic things” wrong, like fitting the right compound of tyre.

Experienced reporter Mark Hughes insists that the team’s strategic issues aren’t a newfound thing, with the Italians having suffered from in-house created errors “for years”.

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“There’s something clearly not fundamentally right within how decisions are taken in the field and at the track and it’s not a new problem. It’s been there for years,” Hughes said on Motor Sport Magazine’s season review podcast.

“You remember Fernando Alonso essentially dictating strategy from the car, you remember Sebastian Vettel doing it.

“They’re such basic things that they can’t just be because somebody hasn’t understood something, it can only be because they’re overloaded in the moment with too many things coming at them.

“It’s not feasible that these are just failures of understanding, because some of them are so obvious. There’s got to be something fundamentally wrong with the environment there.”

Of course, Ferrari’s woes have resulted in Mattia Binotto being replaced as team principal by Alfa Romeo’s Frederic Vasseur, who will take up the job in January.

Binotto has led the team through their dip into the midfield, a time when many thought he’d be sacked, before overseeing the side back to the front.

Whilst Binotto has gotten some areas wrong during his four-year stint as team principal, he’s also gotten a lot right, most notably the fact he reignited a creative spark into the Italian outfit.

What he failed to do, though, according to Hughes, is address the side’s cultural issues, something he “hasn’t been able to put right”.

“That’s something that Binotto hasn’t been able to put right in his time there. Whereas he has put right the lack of creativity – and the following of the trend of last year’s car, so you’re always half a step behind – he has put that right.

“That’s the really difficult, the creative bit – and he’s fixed the creative bits and that’s remarkable – but the underlying culture bit is still there.

“And that’s ultimately why he’s going to be made the scapegoat and rather than supporting him and helping him put it right they’ll just say, ‘right, next’.

“And [the new] guy will be there and if he’s really good he’ll be there for a while, but he will ultimately be fired. And if he’s not very good, he will not be there for very long before he’s fired. That’s just how it is.

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“Until the culture above the team changes, the same thing is going to keep happening.

“And the only time it hasn’t been structured like that was in the Jean Todt, Ross Brawn era and look what happened – it became the greatest team that had ever been seen in F1 up to that time.

“Before then, it massively underdelivered on its potential; after then, it massively underdelivered on its potential. There’s a correlation there and I can’t help thinking it’s causation also.”