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Have Ferrari Ditched Their Italian Roots in a Last-Bid Attempt to Break Their F1 Curse?

Published 12/13/2022, 2:05 PM EST

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It has been coming for a while now, but it’s finally been announced officially. Ferrari has named Frederic Vasseur as the replacement for Mattia Binotto as Ferrari’s team principal. And it promises to be a new dawn for the team at Maranello in more ways than one.

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Earlier today, Ferrari unveiled Alfa Romeo’s outgoing boss as the team’s newest team principal. The team’s CEO Benedetto Vigna said in a statement, “We are delighted to welcome Fred Vasseur to Ferrari as our Team Principal.” And the French boss resonated with the Scuderia’s sentiments. “I am truly delighted and honored to take over the leadership of Scuderia Ferrari as Team Principal.”

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

That being said, Ferrari’s newest management upheaval is more strategic than it would appear at first glance.

What was Mattia Binotto’s biggest shortcoming as Ferrari team principal?

If you’d ask the other team principals in the paddock, they’d probably say that Binotto was hard done by Ferrari. Red Bull boss Christian Horner even said it in as many words. According to him, “I think in all fairness to Mattia, he did a very good job in producing a very competitive car and engine for Ferrari, certainly this year.” 

But in his assessment, he may have hit the nail on its head. “Of course, there’s huge pressure in that team because it’s a national team, effectively.”

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It seems this is what has led to Ferrari’s downfall, with Mattia Binotto and other Italian bosses at its helm.

via Reuters

Former F1 mechanic Marc Priestley explained this In the Fast Lane podcast. He said, “I hate to pin this on being too Italian, it’s the wrong way to say it. But if you see the last period of Ferrari dominance, the team was run by Europeans that weren’t Italians. They are an Italian team. They’re almost a national team.”

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“The pressure as an Italian from the inside that organization, from media, the fans must be extraordinary.” Binotto’s Italian heritage meant that he, like the ones before him, failed. That being said, for Vasseur, history is on his side.

Jean Todt’s legacy with the Scuderia can make Vasseur’s life much easier

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The last time a Frenchman held the reins at Ferrari, they went on to win 5 consecutive F1 titles with Michael Schumacher. And Ferrari’s best bet at replicating that is in the hands of another Frenchman now. Vasseur can escape that Italian pressure like Todt did, given his non-Italian roots. And just like Todt, he also has a man he can build the team around.

And in Leclerc‘s own words, the arrival of Vasseur is a welcome one for the Monegasque, given their history. “I’ve been working with Fred already from the junior categories, where he has believed in me, and then we’ve always had a good relationship.

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Watch This Story: Ferrari Strategy Fails We Will Never Forget

Can Ferrari finally break their F1 curse by ditching their Italian roots?

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Written by:

Anirban Aly Mandal

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Anirban Aly Mandal is a Formula 1 Author at EssentiallySports. In his pursuit for a Bachelor's degree in Law from Symbiosis Law School, he has written multiple academic papers centered around the domain of motorsports. Not only that, but due to his love for F1, he aims to work as a legal advisor in the most prestigious racing series in the world some day.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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