Time for Frederic Vasseur to fix Ferrari’s problems

Frederic Vasseur has worked with Charles Leclerc multiple times in the past, with the Frenchman having supported the Monegasque's junior career.

Former Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur has officially started his role as the new team principal of Ferrari, following the resignation of Mattia Binotto in December.

Vasseur joins Ferrari at a time when the Scuderia have real promise, should they play their cards right in the upcoming season.

After a brief spell fighting in the midfield, the Maranello-based outfit were well and truly back in 2022, with the Italians having designed potentially the best base car of the first era of the new aerodynamic regulations.

The F1-75 was exceptional from the first day it was used, with Charles Leclerc having won two of the opening three races.

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The team’s season, though, dramatically fell away from the fourth round in Emilia Romagna, which just so happens to be the home of Ferrari.

On that day, Carlos Sainz was hit off the track on the opening lap, whilst Leclerc span late on following a driver error, an early indication that the Monegasque didn’t have what it took to be a World Champion.

Driver errors, reliability gremlins and strategic catastrophes took a hold of Ferrari’s year, as they had to watch on as Red Bull and Max Verstappen breezed to both World Championships.

As a result, Ferrari chairman John Elkann ultimately couldn’t trust Binotto’s process, with the Italian having resigned as a result, perhaps to avoid being publicly sacked from the team he spent 28 years working for.  

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Vasseur will take to Ferrari his ability to make bold decisions and make changes when necessary, with the Frenchman likely to be completely aware that the job he’s taken on has been likened to a poisoned chalice.

The first thing he needs to address is the team’s power unit reliability issues, with the side having endured too many engine failures in 2022.

Leclerc suffered dramatic engine failures whilst leading in Spain and Azerbaijan, whilst Sainz retired in Austria following an engine blowout.

Supposedly, this has already been addressed, with Ferrari having reportedly fixed their reliability woes which has resulted in their power unit being able to produce 30hp more than before.

This will make a significant difference; however, it’ll be meaningless unless the Italians solve their strategic mishaps.

Vasseur will need to work incredibly hard to eradicate the team’s strategic errors, with Leclerc in particular having lost several victories following strategic blunders.

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If he can lead the team to produce a reliable car and deliver excellent strategies, then he won’t need to be concerned about the Ferrari board; however, should mistakes continue to occur in 2023, then perhaps Vasseur will be packing his bags before he’s finished emptying them.

The only other thing for Vasseur to do is to give Leclerc and Sainz the belief that they can win the World Championship, but most importantly, how to deal with the pressure.

If the team get everything right then it’ll be down to the drivers to deliver the results, something they’ll need to do starting from Bahrain.