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Ferrari name Vasseur as new Formula One team principal

Frenchman Frederic Vasseur was named team principal and general manager of Ferrari on Tuesday, tasked with ending Red Bull’s dominance in Formula One.

It will be the 54-year-old’s first job with one of F1’s heavyweights.

“Ferrari N.V. today announced that Fred Vasseur will join Scuderia Ferrari on January 9 as team principal and general manager,” said Ferrari in a statement.

Vasseur fills the void left by the resignation of Mattia Binotto last month after Ferrari failed to mount a serious and sustained challenge to Red Bull, despite a promising start to the campaign.

Vasseur until recently held the position of CEO and team principal of Sauber Motorsport (currently Alfa Romeo F1 Team), having been there since 2017.

Sauber announced on Tuesday that former McLaren team principle Andreas Seidl would become their new CEO as of next month.

“Together with the team Seidl will now work on the appointment of its new team principal, which will be communicated in due course,” Sauber said.

Prior to his spell at Sauber, Vasseur was the team principal of Renault in 2016.

“We are delighted to welcome Fred Vasseur to Ferrari as our team principal,” said Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna.

“Throughout his career he has successfully combined his technical strengths as a trained engineer with a consistent ability to bring out the best in his drivers and teams.

“This approach and his leadership are what we need to push Ferrari forward with renewed energy.”

Vasseur gained a reputation for nurturing new talent, helping win the F2 series in 2005 and 2006 with future world champions Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton respectively.

He has strong links from the junior categories with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc was leading the most recent F1 championship in the early stages before his challenge for the driver’s title imploded. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen retain the crown.

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

“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.”

Ferrari began this season with two wins in the opening three races, but were then swept aside by the runaway success of Red Bull and Verstappen.

Numerous pitlane missteps and reliability issues damaged Leclerc’s attempt to keep up with Verstappen. 

Leclerc finished second in the title race but almost 150 points adrift of the Dutchman.

Ferrari also finished runners-up in the constructors’ championship, but over 200 points behind Red Bull.  

Kimi Raikkonen delivered Ferrari’s last drivers’ crown, in 2007, with the team winning their last constructors’ championship the following year.

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