By James Broughton, December 14, 2022
Frederic Vasseur, the Popeye Doyle of Formula One, was named the new team principal of Scuderia Ferrari a few days ago. He replaces Mattia Binnoto who paid the price for Ferrari’s slip-sliding away performance during the course of the 2022 season. Indeed, Ferrari set in motion the process of replacing Binotto in June despite issuing multiple denials. Vasseur joins Ferrari from former sister team Alfa Romeo. Perhaps Ferrari is hoping a bit of Galic grit will elevate the team to perform much more consistently over the year.
Vasseur studied aeronautics and engineering before starting his career in the junior Formula series creating his own team, ASM. Art Grand Prix was his next venture, the team won the GP2 Series in 2005 and 2006 with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Vasseur also runs an engineering company that constructs the chassis for the Formula E series.
Vasseur became the team principal of the newly formed Renault F1 in 2016 but left his role after one year due to disagreements with senior management. His next destination was Sauber F1 in 2017 which eventually became Alfa Romeo. By hiring Vasseur, Ferrari is searching outside of its indigenous engineering tribe. Perhaps they believe Vasseur can bring the Jean Todt glory days back to the Scuderia.
However, Todt had experienced a lot of success in different motorsport formulas before he became the team principal of Ferrari. Vasseur’s time in F1 hasn’t been notable other than being part of the makeup of the paddock. But I do not see what Ferrari sees at every Grand Prix. Obviously, Vasseur has credentials that are very appealing to the Scuderia Ferrari board.