Frédéric Vasseur has something different from those who preceded him in the direction of the Ferrari racing department. Unlike Mattia Binotto, Maurizio Arrivabene, Marco Mattiacci and Setafano Domenicali, he to name the last four highest-ranking executives in the Scuderia, the Frenchman arrived this winter from another team; in his case, Alfa Romeo. The incorporation of him was looking for freshness and a new perspective of someone who was not contaminated with the political component that has so gripped the Maranello troupe in recent times. It should not be forgotten that the Italian structure has not celebrated the title for 15 years (2007), in that tremendous season finale, in Brazil, which intoxicated Kimi Raikkonen.
Vasseur has wasted no time and his hand became evident this Thursday, in Bahrain, in the first of the only three scheduled pre-season test days, and where the championship will start rolling on March 5. With the single-seaters on the track, for the paddock A buzz began to circulate around the Sakhir track that Ferrari did not deny, and that pointed to the first great shake-up promoted by the new boss. Iñaki Rueda, responsible for managing the strategy since 2014, will leave his seat on the circuits to start operating remotely, from the company’s headquarters, during the grand prix. Rueda’s position will be taken over by Ravin Jain, an Indian engineer specializing in physics and mathematics, who was already part of the Spanish work group.
Despite not making it explicit, this movement indirectly points to the man from Madrid as the main person responsible for the errors in decision-making that condemned Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in various tests last season. Especially striking were the trigger shots in Monaco, where the former had the race completely under control until a visit to the workshops at the worst moment spat him out of the podium, and the embarrassing episode at Silverstone, where Sainz would end up premiering his record of victories after leaving with the shame on the air to the strategy group of the red cars with the already famous “stop inventing (stop inventing)”. Part of this reorganization also involves a clarification of the role of Laurent Mekies, the race director, who will focus on the operational aspects, while Vasseur will lead the contact with the riders and the more communicative branch. “When you talk about strategy, it’s more a question of organization than of the person who is sitting on the wall. At the moment I am trying to understand what happened in each of the mistakes that were made last year, to conclude if it was a matter of organization or communication”, commented the Frenchman, shortly after landing at Ferrari.
Alonso, the second fastest
As much as we will have to wait until Saturday to start taking a more approximate X-ray, Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso were the protagonists in Bahrain. The Silverstone team went from fear to relief in just a couple of hours. In the morning, an electrical problem in the AMR23 driven by Felipe Drugovich in the absence of Lance Stroll –he injured his arm and is out for training– kept the Brazilian stuck in the workshop for most of the time –he could only complete 40 laps– . In the afternoon, Alonso took over and, after 60 laps, finished with the second best overall time, only 29 thousandths behind Max Verstappen, the fastest of all and who completed the most kilometers (157 laps). Sainz, for his part, finished third, four tenths behind the Spaniard.
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