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Fred Vasseur’s Authority and Ferrari’s Future Hang in the Balance



The fate of Ferrari future and the authority of Fred Vasseur are uncertain and in jeopardy

As Ferrari enters a new era of leadership in Formula 1, concerns are mounting over the team’s internal struggles. Despite hopes for better results in upcoming races, Ferrari has faced intense scrutiny from the Italian media following a disappointing start to the season and reports of resignations and employee discontent.

As Ferrari enters a new era of leadership in Formula 1, the main pressure in Italy is to avoid projecting an image of disarray and near-chaos. The recent Bahrain Grand Prix was a humbling start to the season for Ferrari, as they were outpaced by Red Bull and suffered from a reliability issue that forced Charles Leclerc to retire from the race.

Despite the challenges faced by Ferrari at the Bahrain Grand Prix, team principal Fred Vasseur remained united and optimistic. While there are reasons to hope for better results in upcoming races in Saudi Arabia and Australia, Ferrari and Vasseur have had to weather intense scrutiny from the Italian media in the meantime.

Fred Vasseur's Authority and Ferrari's Future Hang in the Balance

The resignation of senior technical figure David Sanchez, questions about the leadership of CEO Benedetto Vigna, and reports of Charles Leclerc seeking reassurances directly from Ferrari president John Elkann have been widely covered by respected and well-connected outlets like Gazzeta dello Sport, Corriere Della Sera, and Sky Italia.

Amidst the media scrutiny of Ferrari, there has been speculation about the futures of racing director Laurent Mekies and chassis boss Enrico Cardile, as well as reports of disillusioned long-time Ferrari employees who have either left or are considering leaving.

There have also been suggestions that the team’s development approach became too cautious or passive during the final weeks of former team principal Mattia Binotto’s tenure and while new team principal Fred Vasseur adjusted to the organization.

Additionally, there are concerns that the resignation of senior technical figure David Sanchez and other potential issues within the technical department could bode poorly for Ferrari’s 2023 development plan.


The high-profile changes made by Ferrari over the winter have raised eyebrows and led to speculation that there may be internal disagreements or a schism within the management team, with some employees departing or considering leaving as a result.

There have been whispers of disagreement with CEO Benedetto Vigna, which may have been a factor in some of the departures. Early speculation about possible changes to the technical department, including racing director Laurent Mekies and chassis boss Enrico Cardile, is also cause for concern.

Fred Vasseur's Authority and Ferrari's Future Hang in the Balance

However, it remains unclear where this speculation has originated from, and it would be out of character for new team principal Fred Vasseur to point fingers at individuals beneath him so early in his tenure.

Whether or not the media coverage is overplayed, it is clear that there is a sense of uncertainty and worry within Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello. The team has always had the necessary components to achieve success in Formula 1, but too often they have failed to capitalize on their potential. This seems to be the case again in 2023, particularly given the disappointing start to the season.

The notion that some parts of Ferrari are being further stripped away, combined with the undercurrent of concern throughout the organization, suggests that the situation could potentially worsen before improving.

The intense media scrutiny is not so much an attack on team principal Fred Vasseur as it is a serious interrogation of CEO Benedetto Vigna’s management style. According to various factions of the Italian media, Ferrari appears to be a team that is fraying at the edges and at risk of falling apart due to its unique challenges and pressures.

Strong and empowering leadership from the very top of the organization, above even team principal Fred Vasseur, is crucial for Ferrari’s success.


The best course of action for the management team would be to refrain from interfering with the day-to-day operations of the team and to let them operate independently. In the past, interference and a culture of fear within the organization have led to internal conflicts, finger-pointing, and even backward steps in the team’s progress.

In some cases, the perception of what is happening within Maranello can be just as damaging as the reality. If the media creates a narrative that Ferrari is in crisis, even if it’s not entirely true, it can create a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to a spiral of negative outcomes. Therefore, it is important for the leadership to project a unified front and to avoid adding fuel to the media’s speculative fire.

Team principal Fred Vasseur has projected a message of unity in the aftermath of the Bahrain Grand Prix, and it would be surprising if he deviated from that message in Saudi Arabia. He may push back against the media speculation and criticism, defend the organization he has been tasked with leading, and stress that his communication with CEO Benedetto Vigna is sufficient.

However, where there is smoke, there is often fire, particularly when it comes to Ferrari. The real question is where these concerns are coming from and why they are being raised. It is possible that there are legitimate worries about the direction that Ferrari is heading and that serious problems have arisen within the organization.

Despite the scrutiny and concerns surrounding Ferrari’s management, Fred Vasseur’s position as team principal appears to be strong. Given that the team recently recruited him, it would be in their best interest to retain him, which potentially strengthens his bargaining power. Furthermore, the early media scrutiny may help to protect Vasseur and his team from external interference.

It’s worth noting that Vasseur has already left a team (Renault) after just one season due to dissatisfaction with the leadership. Questions about whether he will be given the freedom to run Ferrari as he sees fit have been raised in the early months of his tenure, and it remains to be seen how much autonomy he will have moving forward.

Fred Vasseur's Authority and Ferrari's Future Hang in the Balance

While it is unlikely that Fred Vasseur would walk away from Ferrari in the short term, the team presents a much larger and more prestigious opportunity than the Renault team he left after one season.


However, if Vasseur were to feel that he is being set up for failure or that his ultimate authority is being undermined, he may not be inclined to stay for the sake of it. Ultimately, Vasseur’s commitment to Ferrari will depend on the extent to which he feels he can make a meaningful contribution to the team and achieve the results he believes are possible.

The challenges facing Ferrari are turning out to be a bigger rebuilding project than team principal Fred Vasseur had anticipated, and it’s becoming clear that his authority to set things right is being tested earlier than expected. There are hints of a potential implosion in the Italian press, which is emerging sooner than even Ferrari’s biggest critics could have predicted.

The success or failure of Ferrari’s attempt to correct course will likely depend on the extent of the damage that has already been done and whether Vasseur is allowed to fix it on his own terms. Ultimately, the team’s fortunes will hinge on whether the leadership can project a united front, avoid interference and distractions, and allow the team to focus on their performance on the track.

Fred Vasseur’s Authority and Ferrari’s Future Hang in the Balance Fred Vasseur’s Authority and Ferrari’s Future Hang in the Balance Fred Vasseur’s Authority and Ferrari’s Future Hang in the Balance Fred Vasseur’s Authority and Ferrari’s Future Hang in the Balance