Ferrari appoint Vasseur as Formula One team boss

Formula One teams changed bosses in a flurry of post-season appointments on Tuesday, with Frederic Vasseur becoming Ferrari principal and Andreas Seidl moving swiftly from McLaren to replace him at Sauber.

Italian Andrea Stella, who started out as an engineer at Ferrari, was named as British-based McLaren’s new team principal.
Tail-enders Williams, who announced on Monday that Jost Capito was stepping aside as boss, are also searching for a new leader.

The rare merry-go-round, in a sport once known for the longevity of bosses at teams they owned or founded, kicked off in November with Ferrari announcing Mattia Binotto’s resignation.

His replacement was revealed on Tuesday in a statement confirming widespread speculation that Frenchman Vasseur was headed for Maranello from Switzerland, where Sauber run the Alfa Romeo team.

That was followed by McLaren announcing the departure with immediate effect of Seidl, who worked previously at Sauber and was also a former boss of Porsche’s endurance team.

Stellantis brand Alfa Romeo is ending its sponsorship of Sauber at the end of 2023, with the team becoming the factory Audi entry from 2026.

Ferrari said Vasseur would join as team principal and general manager on January 9.

“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,” said chief executive Benedetto Vigna.
“This approach and his leadership are what we need to push Ferrari forward with renewed energy.”

Vasseur, 54, will be Ferrari’s fifth principal in less than a decade – a contrast to champions Red Bull who have been led by Christian Horner since they started in 2005 and Mercedes under Toto Wolff since 2013.

Ferrari enjoyed a golden era with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher during a period of stability under the leadership of Frenchman Jean Todt from 1993-2007 but have not won a title since 2008.

They finished distant runners-up to Red Bull this season, but won races for the first time since 2019.

Vasseur and his compatriot Nicolas Todt, son of Jean and manager of Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc, are close and founded the junior series ART racing team together.

Vasseur, who will also be working with Spanish driver Carlos Sainz, said he was “truly delighted and honoured” to take over at Maranello.

“As someone who has always held a lifelong passion for motorsport, Ferrari has always represented the very pinnacle of the racing world to me,” he said.

“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 (fans) around the world.”

McLaren, whose majority shareholder is Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, said Seidl had been transparent about his discussions and thanked him for his contribution.

“He has provided great leadership for the team and has played a significant part in our F1 performance recovery plan and ongoing journey to return to the front of the grid,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.
He said Stella’s promotion showed the strength in depth at a team that finished fifth last season and has Australian rookie Oscar Piastri joining alongside Britain’s Lando Norris.

Sauber said Seidl had been appointed group chief executive, a role Vasseur filled, with the search ongoing for a new principal.

“This is a team with a rich history in Formula One and an organisation I know really well from my time working and living in Hinwil for four years,” said the German.