Ferrari have appointed Frédéric Vasseur as their new team principal to replace Mattia Binotto.
The experienced Frenchman steps up to the Scuderia after five years in charge at Sauber. In a move that triggered a series of shifting roles in the top positions at Formula One teams, Sauber have appointed McLaren’s team principal Andreas Seidl as chief executive. McLaren in turn announced that their racing director Andrea Stella will step up to the team principal role.
On Monday Williams also confirmed that their principal Jost Capito had left his post. The train of events was set in motion when Binotto stood down from Ferrari this month after a disappointing season, marked by great promise not met, undone by team and driver errors and poor reliability.
The role will be the most high-profile job of the 54-year-old Vasseur’s career, carrying great responsibility and huge pressure. The Scuderia have not won a drivers’ title since Kimi Räikkönen did so in 2007 and while Vasseur inherits a potentially competitive car, the team have vast room for improvement operationally, a daunting task he said he was nevertheless looking forward to.
“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 around the world”.
Vasseur, who has a technical background as an engineer, was previously in charge at the ART Grand Prix team in various F1 feeder series, including running drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Nico Rosberg on their way to F1. He co-founded the team with Nicolas Todt, son of the former Ferrari principal and FIA president Jean Todt.
Vasseur spent five years in charge at Sauber (which has been competing under the Alfa Romeo name since 2019) and turned the team around. They were sixth in the championship this year, their best finish in a decade. Current Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc made his F1 debut with Vasseur at Sauber in 2018.
Seidl has performed similarly well at McLaren and is a loss for the team. The 46-year-old German has been chosen to step in at Sauber in anticipation of the team becoming the Audi works team in 2026. Seidl has a close relationship with Audi’s parent group Volkswagen since he successfully ran their sister brand Porsche’s LMP1 sportscar programme, taking three victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the process. He has also previously worked with Sauber as an engineer and will now choose a new team principal for the team.
“It is great to join the Sauber Group from January,” he said. “This is a team with a rich history in F1 and an organisation I know really well from my time working and living in Hinwil for four years.”
Seidl was appointed by McLaren in 2019 and with the team struggling made an immediate impression. They were third in 2020 and took their first win for nine years at the Italian GP in 2021.
Stella is a solid choice to replace him at McLaren however. He has been with the team since 2015 and was a performance engineer at Ferrari for 15 years, working with Michael Schumacher, Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso.
Williams have yet to appoint a replacement for Capito, with four team principals now having left their posts in the space of three weeks of the end of the 2022 season.