In a move expected by many tifosi, former Ferrari F1 Team Principal Mattia Binotto resigned at the end of 2022. Since 2019, the Swiss-Italian engineer was chasing with Ferrari a Constructor’s World Championship that an entire country is waiting for since 2008. To end this drought, the Maranello-based team hired Frederic Vasseur to lead the Cavallino Rampante in this quest.
A great challenge for the French who was the previous F1 Team Principal of the Sauber F1 Team… and happened to have had under his wings a young Lewis Hamilton. Discover now 5 things that make Frederic Vasseur special.
He managed Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in their younger days… and won
Frederic Vasseur happens to know more than one or two things about racing. In 1995, after graduating from an engineering school in France, Vasseur became a racing engineer in F1’s feeder series.
One year later, he founded ASM, a team that raced in junior series in France and Europe. In 2004, he co-operated with Nicolas Todt (son of former F.I.A. President Jean Todt) and established ART Grand Prix to compete in GP2 Series.
They signed promising young drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton and won twice in a row the Championship, with the first title being awarded to the German in 2005 and the second to Hamilton in 2006.
Involved in the inaugural season of Formula E
To work in racing, you need to understand each and every aspect of the business. Don’t worry Ferrari fans, Frederic Vasseur is the man of the moment. Besides winning in feeder series and launching to stardom the career of Lewis Hamilton or Romain Grosjean, Vasseur is a successful businessman.
For example, he launched Spark Racing Technology in 2013. This name sounds familiar to you? If you’re into Formula-E, no wonder. The company provided all Formula-E team’s single-seaters for the inaugural season from 2014 through 2018.
But their involvement in motorsports is far from over. Three years later, Spark signed a deal with the Extreme-E Championship that made them the official car supplier of the off-road series.
Frederic Vasseur’s first adventure in Formula 1 lasted only a year
You heard Frederic Vasseur was a member of Sauber, right? But did you know his first experience as a Team Principal was for the Renault Sport Formula One Team?
His period there was not as glorious as with the Swiss Team. Tensions with the French team led Vasseur to resign. In 2017, he had this to say about his time with Renault :
"“The reason is that there was too much different vision in the management of the team. (…) If you want to perform in F1, you need to have one leader in the team and one single way. If you have two different visions then the result is that the work inside the team is slow.”"
After his resignation, Vasseur was appointed Sauber Team Principal in July 2017.
He has a great relationship with Charles Leclerc
Frederic Vasseur witnessed the first full season of Charles Leclerc in a Formula 1 car in 2018. A driver for the Sauber F1 Team, Leclerc shined on many occasions with the Swiss team including a 6th position at the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
During a press conference at the 2022 F.I.A. Prize Giving Ceremony, Charles Leclerc commented on the potential arrival of Vasseur as the new Team Principal of the Scuderia Ferrari :
"I worked with Fred since the junior categories, where he has believed in me. We always had a good relationship. (…) He has always been very honest, straightforward, and this is something I liked from Fred."
And if you are observant, in Netflix’s docu-Series Drive to Survive, you may have noticed both men have been talking a few times after races… With Vasseur being the boss of Leclerc this year, you can surely expect clearer communication than in the Binotto-Era.
Frederic Vasseur is the second French Team Principal of Ferrari
The nomination of Vasseur as the new Team Principal of Ferrari brings back memories to the Tifosi. Despite being an Italian team, the Scuderia Ferrari already hired a native French as their Team Principal.
Many remember the amount of success Jean Todt drew to the Italian racing team as their General Manager from 1994 until 2007. Under Todt’s leadership, Ferrari won 8 Constructors’ World Championships, including six in a row with Michael Schumacher.
With a shared nationality and the same passion for racing, Frederic Vasseur carries the hopes and dreams of an entire country willing to beat their Mercedes and Red Bull rivals.