Ferrari has faced a challenging season with its SF-23 car, as drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz struggled with inconsistency, making it particularly difficult to perform well in races.
Compounding their difficulties, the team has experienced the departure of key personnel, including head of vehicle concept David Sanchez, who is joining McLaren. Additionally, sporting director Laurent Mekies will step down later this year before moving to AlphaTauri.
To turn Ferrari’s situation around, new team boss Fred Vasseur is determined to make significant strides. A recent major update introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix has shown promise, providing a more consistent car capable of competing higher up the field.
However, Vasseur acknowledges that to consistently challenge Red Bull, the team needs to recruit talent from outside. He revealed that the current gardening leave clauses in Formula 1 contracts present a hurdle, as it can take years for new signings to join a team like Ferrari.
Vasseur stated, “The issue in F1 is inertia. On one hand, we appear agile with the ability to make quick changes and fix issues from one race to another. But when it comes to steering the boat in a different direction, agility diminishes. We understand that recruiting is not a matter of days but years.”
He recently signed a top-notch individual who will only start working on the car in 2025 and 2026. While the wait may seem long, Vasseur believes it is necessary to prevent further setbacks. He emphasizes that accepting this reality is fundamental in Formula 1. Failure to act will only delay progress even more.
Vasseur opted not to disclose the identity of the new signing or their current team, aiming to avoid complications during the interim period.
Despite his frustrations with the lengthy wait for key staff, Vasseur remains optimistic about advancing the current car. He asserts, “I will never give up on fixing it because it’s the best way to learn and avoid mistakes. While we strive for development in different areas to improve the car, the main issue lies elsewhere.”
Vasseur sees progress in the car’s stability following the changes implemented in Spain. He explains that the team is working towards consistency and a more driver-friendly car, taking gradual steps in the right direction.
Although Vasseur approaches the performance on the unique Montreal track with caution, he highlights encouraging signs when comparing Ferrari to Aston Martin on similar tire stints during the race.
He concludes, “In the last stint, with almost the same number of laps as [Fernando] Alonso, we had the same tires. The time difference was plus or minus one second over 30 laps. While it’s fair to consider that [Max] Verstappen wasn’t pushing to the limit, I don’t believe that was the case. Compared to two or three weeks ago, we finished only 10 seconds behind [Alonso]. That’s nearly the same gap we had at the end of the first lap.”
Note: The original content has been rephrased and condensed for clarity and coherence.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 recovery timescale
What challenges has Ferrari faced in the current Formula 1 season?
Ferrari has faced challenges with its SF-23 car, as drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have battled inconsistency, making it difficult to perform well in races.
How has the departure of key personnel affected Ferrari?
The departure of key personnel, such as head of vehicle concept David Sanchez and sporting director Laurent Mekies, has added to Ferrari’s challenges and the need for team restructuring.
What major update did Ferrari introduce at the Spanish Grand Prix?
Ferrari introduced a significant update at the Spanish Grand Prix, which has helped deliver a more consistent car that can compete higher up the order.
Why does Ferrari need to recruit from outside the team?
Ferrari’s new team boss, Fred Vasseur, recognizes the need to recruit talent from outside the team to fast track their recovery and consistently challenge rivals like Red Bull.
Why does it take years for new signings to join a team like Ferrari?
In Formula 1, current gardening leave clauses in contracts can delay the joining of new signings, turning the recruitment process into a multi-year timeline.
How long did it take to sign a top individual for Ferrari?
The signing of a top individual for Ferrari recently took place, and they will start working on the car in 2025 and 2026, highlighting the lengthy timeframe involved.
What approach does Ferrari take towards fixing the current car?
Ferrari remains committed to fixing the current car rather than giving up, as it provides the best opportunity to learn, avoid mistakes, and make progress in the long run.
How has Ferrari’s car performance improved recently?
Changes implemented in Spain have produced a more stable platform for Ferrari, improving the car’s consistency and drivability, signaling progress in the right direction.
How does Ferrari compare to Aston Martin in terms of performance?
When comparing Ferrari to Aston Martin on similar tire stints during a race, there were encouraging signs, with Ferrari finishing only 10 seconds behind Alonso, similar to the gap at the end of the first lap.
What is the overall outlook for Ferrari’s recovery in Formula 1?
Ferrari’s recovery in Formula 1 will require patience and time, as they navigate challenges, recruit key personnel, make necessary improvements, and work towards consistently challenging their competitors.