New Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has certainly endured a turbulent start to life at Maranello, with plenty having gone on between the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Bahrain wasn’t the start to life at Ferrari that Vasseur would’ve wanted, with the Maranello-based side having endured an incredibly difficult weekend, which ended with Charles Leclerc retiring from third following yet another power unit failure.
As a result, Leclerc will take a 10-place grid penalty this weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, after Ferrari had to fit a third set of control electronics to the Monegasque’s car.
Each driver is allowed two sets of control electronics during a season, with Leclerc having used both in Bahrain.
Ferrari changed Leclerc to the second set after identifying an issue with the original set; however, the second set was then to blame for his engine failure in the latter stages of the season-opener.
The grid penalty certainly isn’t ideal, but Vasseur admitted that the issue Leclerc suffered from in Bahrain has “never” been seen by Ferrari before.
“It is something we have never experienced in the past and I hope now it is under control,” Vasseur said.
Engine reliability hasn’t been Vasseur’s only issue since Bahrain, with reports that several senior officials in the team are growing increasingly unsettled with the management style of Ferrari CEO Venedetto Vigna.
Former head of vehicle concept David Sanchez announced his departure from Ferrari ahead of Saudi Arabia, with him having since entered a period of gardening leave.
It’s believed that Sanchez will be returning to McLaren following his gardening leave, whilst others might be on the verge of following in his footsteps.
Vasseur, though, is confident that the Italians won’t experience “more exits in key positions”, but that some may decide to leave.
“I’m not talking about contract details,” he said. “It is what it is. I wish David the best of luck.
“It’s normal in a big company that people come and go. But I do not expect more exits in key positions, although some will leave and others will come.”
According to reports, one of the individuals considering their future at Ferrari is race director Laurent Mekies.
Despite the reports, Vasseur is certain that he won’t quit, with the Frenchman viewing Mekies as “one of the pillars” of the future of the team.
“I have known him since school and I believe in him and he will be one of the pillars of the company’s future,” Vasseur insisted.