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Ferrari Vasseur agenda on first day in office

Ferrari Vasseur agenda on first day in office

Ferrari Vasseur agenda on first day in office

Ferrari Vasseur agenda on first day in office
Ewan Gale

Fred Vasseur has now officially started as Ferrari's new team principal [from Jan 9].

After a number of years serving as team principal and CEO of Sauber/Alfa Romeo, Vasseur has stepped into the hot seat at Maranello as replacement for Mattia Binotto.

The Italian resigned at the end of a 2022 season that promised so much in terms of a championship challenge but petered out into runner-up finishes in both the drivers' and constructors' championships.

Vasseur now finds himself as the fifth person to take on the most pressurised position in F1 over the past decade, so what are his priorities?

Strategy

Entering through the doors at Maranello, once Vasseur has dealt with the pleasantries associated with the first day on the job, one of his primary tasks is likely to be calling a meeting with strategy chief Iñaki Rueda.

One of the fundamental failures of Ferrari's title charge last season was with regard to its race-day tactics which left drivers, rivals and fans scratching their heads on numerous occasions over the course of the campaign.

READ MORE...Ferrari confirm Vasseur as team principal

But strategic ineptness has long plagued Ferrari's operations, as highlighted by the fact Sebastian Vettel's final year with the Scuderia was blighted by in-fighting and confusion over the team radio.

There are plenty of issues that can hinder an F1 team but Ferrari's continued struggles on the strategy side left it open to being a laughing stock on occasion. Vasseur needs to take a firm hand with this.

Reliability

This was a major limiting factor for Ferrari at the end of the year, with Binotto conceding the power units were turned down in order to save the components.

This simply will not do when you are likely in a three-way fight for the title alongside Red Bull and Mercedes, as should be the case next season.

There is some positive noise ahead of the new year, with Haas team principal Guenther Steiner labelling the 2023 unit "the bomb" following discussions with Binotto.

But Vasseur must ensure the ship is steered in the direction of reliability. Not much will be achievable on this side for the new year, but 2024 and 2025 will allow for development.

In the mid-to-long term, the Scuderia will be aiming for a similar start to the new-for-2026 power unit regulations as Mercedes enjoyed in 2014. If Vasseur can oversee this alongside the present-day issues, the Italian outfit will be a winner.

Budget cap

It is no secret Ferrari hit the budget cap ceiling midway through the past season, severely restricting its ability to compete in the second half of the year.

It was therefore no surprise that Mercedes, thanks to its continued development, ended the year at least level with its rivals, despite beginning it some way off the pace.

Vasseur has had to stringently oversee the spending at Alfa Romeo since the budget cap was introduced, with the Hinwil-based outfit falling comfortably below the limit in 2021 and 2022.

This could help Ferrari to stretch the budget across a year, though there are obvious differences in scale across the board.

Being able to sustain a challenge will go a long way to appeasing the Ferrari board in his first season.

Ferrari board

As evidenced by the turnover of the team principal post, Ferrari's hierarchy can be hard to please.

CEO Benedetto Vigna and chairman John Elkann will be over the shoulder of Vasseur ensuring everything runs as required.

But the 54-year-old is more than capable of running the team without any added pressure - his junior category form and Alfa Romeo turnaround are a testament to that.

If Vasseur can wrangle complete control of the F1 operation and work without unnecessary pressure and meddling, then this really could be a successful partnership.

After all, Ferrari opted to recruit externally for a reason.

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