Ferrari 2022

Why 2024 will make or break the Ferrari reign of Federic Vasseur

In his second campaign with Ferrari, team principal Frederic Vasseur will have to make sure he steps up to avoid the fate of his predecessor, Mattia Binotto.

With seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton on the Scuderia’s horizon, expectations have never been higher, and mistakes simply cannot occur.

Binotto’s final gambit, the 2022 Formula One season, began with what many fans sat desiring: a genuine title scrap.

The F1-75 had teeth and bared them in Bahrain and Australia as lead driver Charles Leclerc landed two wins in the first three races.

The battle was short-lived however, as six straight Red Bull victories, led by the impervious Max Verstappen, dampened any hopes of Ferrari mounting a charge.

A mid-campaign renaissance did see Carlos Sainz win at Silverstone, and victory was tasted on their rivals’ home patch in Austria by Leclerc.

Yet, Red Bull reeled off victories in every other race, apart from George Russell’s Interlagos triumph, to claim to constructors and drivers’ championship.

The brunt of the disappointment was legered towards then-boss Binotto, whose departure from the team was spearheaded by countless errors in a plethora of races.

Monaco, which saw Red Bull gain crucial ground through Sergio Perez, was a tactical nightmare. Leclerc, on pole in his home race, was chaotically called in a second time just a few laps after his first pit stop.

Over the radio, an engineer then shouted for him to stay out, but the damage was done, and Leclerc was forced to wait behind teammate Sainz in the pits, falling from the pole to fourth.

Silverstone added further pressure. The race-leading Leclerc wasn’t brought in during a late pit-stop opportunity with all the chasing pack changing tyres, and the Monegasque finished fourth again.

The 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix was perhaps the nail in the Italian boss’ coffin, however.

With Verstappen’s grid penalty, the team had a great chance of victory. Alas, the wrong tyres were chosen.

Every other team went with the suitable softer tyres but Ferrari landed on hard. The lack of grip saw Leclerc pit three times, and any sort of challenge was squandered.

Binotto’s job was lost, and Vasseur was brought in and endured a relatively disappointing first season in charge of Ferrari.

The 2023 season was far from the dream start for Vasseur
(Image credit: Lukas Raich via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 licence)

Verstappen’s Red Bull was nearly infallible in 2023 in fairness, and Sainz’s victory in Singapore showed that the team had the firepower to win races this season.

The RB20 looks just as strong this time around, but a challenge will have to be mounted should Vasseur want to keep his job.

Lewis Hamilton will soon wear red, and he’ll expect to be governed by someone with the nous and pedigree of Toto Wolff.

If Vasseur doesn’t perform, his head will be on the chopping block, as the Hamilton coup must not be something done in vain.

The French team principal has stated that his team must not be scared to dare in the first race of the 2024 Formula One season and dare he must if he is to remain at the helm of one of the sport’s most iconic names.

Feature image credit: EJ Mina via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

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