Formula One

Vasseur unfazed by Mekies departure – insists on ‘power of the team’


Fred Vasseur says he’ll personally regret seeing sporting director Laurent Mekies depart Ferrari, but the Scuderia boss says the “power of the team” is more important than any one individual.

Mekies will leave the House of Maranello, at a date that has yet to be agreed, to take the reins of Scuderia AlphaTauri where the Frenchman will replace longstanding team boss Franz Tost at the start of 2024.

Vasseur made clear from the outset that the split is amicable, and that he had no intention of making life difficult for his longstanding friend by unduly prolonging his stay.

“First of all, I think it’s a mega opportunity for Laurent,” he said, speaking in baku on Thursday. “And I’m considering also that I have a good relationship with him, and I won’t block Laurent for sure.

“Then if you speak about timeline, I think that Toro Rosso [sic] was probably a bit aggressive on the press release, and we have a long-term contract with Laurent. And we’ll have to discuss about details.

Laurent Mekies (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director with Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari and Mattia Binotto (ITA) Ferrari Team Principal. 01.10.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Qualifying

“We’ll have to find the best for Ferrari, and depending on when he will leave the company, and when he will move to Toro Rosso, we will decide the end of the collaboration.

“But I’m not scared about this, because we will do it properly, and the relationship is very positive.

“I can perfectly put myself in Laurent’s position. And I think it’s quite impossible to refuse when you are in this business to become a team principal.

“Now I’m there to protect the interests of Ferrari. And it’s Ferrari first and it will be always Ferrari first, and it means that we’ll have to discuss about the conditions of this.”

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Mekies’ exit will obviously leave a large void in Ferrari’s internal organization. In addition to his on-site operational responsibilities, the Scudueria’s sporting director also handles the team’s relationship and communication with the FIA.

Vasseur says that replacing Mekies will add to the current processes that are taking place as part of the team’s reorganization.

“He is sporting director, so the hole is quite large,” he explained. “And it will be part of the reorganisation of the company. You know that we are in a long process and it’s taking time, but we are recruiting a lot outside, and you will have names quite soon.

“But it will be part of the reorganisation, and we could split the job into two different positions as some other teams are doing, and this is part of restructuring.”


Regardless of who will succeed Mekies, Vasseur insists Ferrari will work around the issue when necessary, as “losing one person in 1600 is not a drama”.

“The power of the team is always more important and the power of the group than the individuals. We have to keep this in mind, that the most important is the group.

“The group is there. We are recruiting massively – we are not communicating, but we are recruiting massively. And we will do step-by-step because you can’t put an organisation in place in two weeks, you know perfectly the system of the recruitment in F1, it’s quite long and painful.

“We are working on it. But don’t expect that one day you will have a new organisation. It will be step-by-step, and we are putting something in place.”

Mekies is the second high-profile member of the Scuderia in a month to announce his departure from Maranello, with senior engineer David Sanchez recently announcing his move to McLaren at the end of the year.


But Vasseur ensures that the changes won’t impact Ferrari’s development in the mid-term.

“In every single team you have to build up your own group and to build up something,” he said.

“Now we have to be clear that we are speaking, and it’s absolutely not against Laurent and the skills of Laurent and so on, but we are speaking about two people in a group of more than 1000 people.

“For sure individuals are important, but it’s nothing compared to the group. And we have to build up something on the group, not on individuals.

“And okay, Laurent decided to move, and as I said before, I’m fully respectful with the decision of Laurent, because I think it’s an opportunity for anyone. But this mid-term won’t impact the development of Ferrari.

“When you have over 1000 employees, and you have a turnover of 6-7%, it means that we have 100 people a year leaving the company and joining the company. Sometimes from a staff point of view you [the media] pay attention to one or two.

“We have 100 people a year joining the company, coming half from the other teams, half from the other business.

“It means that sometimes you are paying a lot of attention to names. But it’s not this which is driving the performance.”

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Vasseur unfazed by Mekies departure – insists on ‘power of the team’

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