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Ferrari's Future Vasseur Plans Beyond 2024

Vasseur Weighs Ferrari’s Shift from F1 2024 to 2025

19/06/2024

Vasseur at Ferrari faces a strategic choice, deciding when to transition focus from the 2024 to the 2025 F1 season.

Despite a disastrous last Grand Prix in Canada, Fred Vasseur’s season at Ferrari remains very positive: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz each secured a victory, and the Scuderia is ‘only’ 49 points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ standings.

However, Ferrari must also juggle the 2024 and 2025 programs, and even with the new regulatory era of 2026, which already requires considerable design and strategic planning.

All this while competing for a world title. One can imagine this gives Fred Vasseur some headaches. So, how is he managing? Is Ferrari already focused on next year’s car?

“In terms of percentage, it’s quite difficult to give an exact figure. Part of the team is working on upcoming developments this season, another is already focused on next year’s car. We have already started working on the 2025 car. Additionally, we are currently working on the 2026 power unit, while for the chassis and aerodynamics, we can only make assumptions, as there is no firm regulation published yet.”

Indeed, the 2026 regulations will not be official until next June 28. However, the draft regulations so far revealed have been heavily criticized, particularly by Red Bull. Will Ferrari join the opposition?

“I will start by saying that I am not in a hurry to see the 2026 regulations. If the FIA had finalized everything today, two or three teams would probably be ready to set aside this season and the next to focus entirely on 2026, which would give them a huge advantage.”

“Honestly, I argued for pushing back the publication of the technical regulations to October, because during this period, we will still be focused on the final developments of this season and 2025. But we will not be able to work on the 2026 aerodynamics before January 1, and I think that’s a good thing because the real problem in terms of resources is aerodynamics. Then there will be those who decide to focus 100% on 2026 from January 1, giving up on improving the 2025 car, but these are decisions that will vary from one team to another.”

Even if Ferrari gets off to a successful start to the year, like Charles Leclerc, Fred Vasseur tends to see the glass as half empty.

Thus, when the New York Times asks him to review the first third of the year, the Frenchman remains gruff, self-critical, or perfectionist, depending on your view.

“One of my faults, at least according to my wife, and I have to trust her, is that I always focus on the negatives.”

“Probably, it’s a professional aspect that makes me always try to achieve the best and improve our weaknesses, and I don’t focus on what I do well.”

“Sometimes my wife tells me: ‘You need to say “good job” to someone.’ It’s true that I’m not the world champion at that. I’m more focused on the points we need to continue to improve, to have a better reaction, better anticipation. If we have room for improvement, it’s there, and that’s where I focus.”

“This means that as a team director, I probably need to be a bit more positive with everyone sometimes. At the end of a race, for example, every time they say, ‘Okay, let’s go on the radio to say well done and thank you,’ I’m focused on my stuff and I think, ‘Oh, too late.'”

Serra and D’Ambrosio: What Exactly Will Their Roles Be at Maranello?

Fred Vasseur is indeed succeeding in turning around the Scuderia. For instance, Ferrari has become one of the best teams operationally, well ahead of Mercedes F1.

However, building a world champion team will still take time, continues Vasseur (who joined Maranello a year and a half ago).

“It’s still a bit early because in a racing team, you have two different timelines.”

“There’s the recruitment of people, and it’s a very long process because when you recruit people, they join the team 12 to 18 months later.”

“First, you need to identify the weaknesses, then identify the people and recruit them. The overall process is a two-year project.”

Among these new recruits is Loïc Serra: another Frenchman, coming from Mercedes F1, who will be the performance director related to the chassis at Maranello. A key recruit for Fred Vasseur.

“He will join us at the end of the year and will work on next year’s car. It’s typically a medium to long-term project.”

Does this mean that Fred Vasseur has abandoned the ‘short term’?

“In the short term, it’s more about putting everything together, having a good team spirit. That’s probably the only thing that can be done in the short term, reorganizing some departments, changing people, but it’s more a question of mindset in the end. We did it quite quickly last year, and I think it’s bearing fruit.”

“Perhaps as a team director, what you can change quickly is a bit of the mentality or the ability to take risks, self-confidence, this kind of team spirit, let’s call it that. I think we’ve made a good step forward in this area.”

As for Jérôme D’Ambrosio, another recruit from Mercedes F1 (he served as Toto Wolff’s deputy), what will his exact role be? It seems quite unclear at the moment…

“Jérôme won’t replace anyone; he’ll be an added value to the team. We’ll divide up the different tasks, and he will particularly support me. Even though I hope it doesn’t happen, he might occasionally need to kick me… and I need that. He has a great deal of experience in motorsport, from management to driving.”

Ferrari's Future Vasseur Plans Beyond 2024

Ferrari’s Future: Vasseur Plans Beyond 2024. Ferrari’s Future: Vasseur Plans Beyond 2024. f1 Ferrari’s Future: Vasseur Plans Beyond 2024

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