Dec.14 (GMM) “One of the biggest managerial shake-ups in years” is taking place in Formula 1 just over a week before Christmas.
That is how Britain’s Sun newspaper summed up the current round of perhaps-unprecedented musical chairs at the very top of the sport.
Ferrari has now confirmed that Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur is indeed moving to Maranello to replace the axed Mattia Binotto.
However, according to former F1 driver and now German television pundit Ralf Schumacher, Frenchman Vasseur was in fact “not the number 1 candidate”.
“Nevertheless, the change came at the right time for him, since he was not the preferred candidate at Audi either,” he told Sky Deutschland.
“The question for Fred now is who he can bring with him,” Schumacher added. “He will definitely take some confidants from Sauber to Ferrari because there will also be some restructuring there.
“But getting used to the new culture and withstanding the pressure at Ferrari will be difficult for him.
“But I trust Fred, who has broad shoulders, is absolutely financially independent and hard-nosed with his decisions.”
Vasseur leaves the team currently known as Alfa Romeo, Sauber, which is being taken over by Audi over the next few seasons ahead of the official tie-up for 2026.
Andreas Seidl, the McLaren team boss with experience within Volkswagen but also at Sauber, will be the Swiss-based outfit’s new CEO.
“We welcome the choice of our future partner,” German media quote Audi’s Oliver Hoffman as saying.
However, Seidl will in fact not be Sauber team principal – with that role yet to be filled. Jost Capito, the newly-departing Williams team boss but also Binotto, may be candidates.
Ralf Schumacher thinks Williams will replace Capito “internally”.
“I’m surprised Jost had to go,” said the German. “I can imagine that the investors were dissatisfied with progress, which we can also see in the fact that other important people also have to go.
“I’m sorry for Jost, because he should have had a little more time. But teams like Williams and Alfa Romeo have to take the next step at some point.
“Ferrari too,” Schumacher added. “What happened there after the strong start to the season was almost embarrassing.”
McLaren, meanwhile, is replacing the Sauber-Audi-bound Seidl by promoting well-known engineer Andrea Stella – who last year reported directly to Seidl.
“He (Seidl) had told us that he would definitely leave by the end of 2025 and we would have had no problem continuing to work together until then,” said McLaren supremo Zak Brown.
He explained that Sauber owner Finn Rausing “got in touch to ask if we could let Andreas go ahead of time”.
“I’ve known Finn for a decade and we get along really well,” Brown added, before smiling: “We had 850 employees before, now we have 849.
“We have enough talent in the team to be able to absorb Andreas’ departure.”
Ralf Schumacher commented: “It will take a while before McLaren can be at the front again. The restructuring and the wind tunnel construction, which are absolutely necessary, still need time.
“Maybe it was all too long for Andreas. They also had that dual leadership structure with Zak Brown and I don’t know if that’s always a good thing. Brown can be quite explosive,” he said.
“On the other hand, Seidl had a very successful time at Porsche with the VW Group and it was almost certain that he would go back at some point. This is a great opportunity for him.”