Fred Vasseur’s Journey to Ferrari: From Initial Approach to First Day as Team Boss

Vasseur Opens Up About His Decision to Join Ferrari and His Transition from Alfa Romeo-Sauber

Fred Vasseur, the current Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari, has provided insight into the sequence of events that led to his appointment as the head of the prestigious Formula 1 team. From Ferrari’s initial approach to his first day at Maranello, Vasseur shed light on the emotions and considerations that accompanied his transition from his role at Alfa Romeo-Sauber.

Following the resignation of Mattia Binotto as Ferrari’s team boss, the team was on the lookout for a new leader to guide them through the challenges of F1 2023 and beyond. Fred Vasseur, who had served as the team principal of Alfa Romeo-Sauber since 2017, emerged as the chosen candidate. Accepting the offer presented a transformative shift for Vasseur, who found himself moving from the Hinwil base to the historic Maranello headquarters.

Recalling the initial contact with Ferrari, Vasseur revealed that the discussions began shortly after the conclusion of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He shared that the prospect of leading Ferrari was a significant career milestone, akin to a tennis player aspiring to compete at Wimbledon. However, due to family considerations, Vasseur needed time to deliberate before accepting the offer.

“It was just after Abu Dhabi last year. The week after we had the first discussion,” Vasseur explained during the Beyond the Grid podcast. He noted that the interaction with Ferrari’s Chairman, John Elkann, had already begun earlier due to Alfa Romeo’s relationship with Ferrari as an engine supplier.

While Vasseur acknowledged that the opportunity to lead Ferrari was a profound career challenge, he emphasized that his family’s input was pivotal in his decision-making process. “I took 24 hours because it was more for my family… I put a lot of pressure on my family so far, and I knew that it will be another step. And I wanted to discuss with them if they were keen to do it,” he elaborated.

Addressing his departure from Alfa Romeo-Sauber, Vasseur described the five-year journey as a transformative experience. From overcoming financial difficulties to securing a P6 finish in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship, Vasseur felt that he had achieved the goals he had set for the team. He expressed a sense of accomplishment and readiness for a new challenge as Alfa Romeo-Sauber prepared to embark on an exciting journey with Audi.

When asked about his feelings on his first day at Maranello, Vasseur spoke of a sense of familiarity. Having visited Ferrari’s headquarters on prior occasions and engaged in discussions with key figures, the transition did not feel entirely new to him. “I don’t want to say that I was used to being there at all, because it’s a different thing to come as a customer or partner or to come as the team principal, but somehow it was not new at all,” he remarked.

As Ferrari navigates the challenges of the current F1 season, Vasseur’s insights provide a glimpse into the personal and professional considerations that underpin the leadership transition within the iconic team. Amidst the shifts and changes, Vasseur’s journey highlights the delicate balance between career aspirations, family considerations, and the pursuit of excellence in the world of Formula 1.