The rumours had been rife for months that Sauber F1 boss and CEO had been the front runner to replace Mattia Binotto as Ferrari’s F1 chief. The Swiss-Italian had been under the pump thanks to strategic blunders, reliability issues and a development curve for the car that was being run ragged by Red Bull. But then on the cusp of the last race of the season, Ferrari issued a statement denying the rumours about Vasseur replacing Binotto but within a week after the F1 season concluded where the Scuderia managed to secure P2 from Mercedes and Leclerc managed to beat Perez for P2 in the driver’s championship, Binotto himself threw in the towel and reigned. His last day was supposed to be December 31 but Ferrari still hadn’t annuities a successor.
But as the weeks have gone by, Vasseur emerged as the only potential contender and in the morning the Sauber team issued an announcement that it was going to be losing its CEO and team boss who had lifted the team from P10 to P7 in the last 6 years. He was also the man who had closed the Audi deal which will see Sauber be transformed into the Audi works unit when the new 2026 engine regulations are activated.
Soon after Ferrari made its own announcement stating that Vasseur was being appointed as its team principal and general manager for F1. What’s notable is Vasseur is not given the title of managing director which was something that Binotto had. This could either mean, Vasseur is going to have a boss above him in the F1 hierarchy at Maranello or this has been done to give wiggle room for growth.
“We are delighted to welcome Fred Vasseur to Ferrari as our Team Principal. Throughout his career, he has successfully combined his technical strengths as a trained engineer with a consistent ability to bring out the best in his drivers and teams. This approach and his leadership are what we need to push Ferrari forward with renewed energy,” said Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna at his appointment.
“I am truly delighted and honoured to take over the leadership of Scuderia Ferrari as Team Principal. As someone who has always held a lifelong passion for motorsport, Ferrari has always represented the very pinnacle of the racing world to me. I look forward to working with the talented and truly passionate team in Maranello to honour the history and heritage of the Scuderia and deliver for our Tifosi around the world,” added Vasseur on the news of his appointment.
The Sauber man before F1 has a sterling track record. He has over 25 years of motor sporting experience where he was in charge of the GP2 teams with whom Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had their GP2 victories in 2005 and 2006 before they entered F1. In fact, he was also the team boss of Charles Leclerc in F3 and was the first team boss of the Ferrari ace when he joined F1 in 2018 with the Sauber team. Ferrari snagged the Monegasque in 2019 and since then he has won the most races for the team.
Vasseur’s appointment comes at a time when there is a lot of reshuffling happening in F1 with regard to team bosses. Last even Williams announced that Jost Capito was leaving the team with immediate effect which leaves an opening at the team. McLaren F1 team principal Andreas Seidl has also left to join Sauber as the replacement for Vasseur. This also leaves room for Binotto who is widely recognised as one of the greatest technical minds in F1 having been Ferrari’s technical director and head of its power units.