‘Replacing Binotto with Vasseur wasn’t the right call’

Total-Motorsport.com take a closer look at what to expect from Ferarri ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season

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Ferrari are still looking for their first title since 2008 after last year’s title challenge faded away following a run of reliability issues, strategy mistakes and driver errors.

Charles Leclerc had the edge over Carlos Sainz and both drivers are keen to be in the fight for the championship during the latter stages of 2023.

Mattia Binotto resigned as team principal at the end of the year, so Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur has come in over the winter and is expected to continue his close relationship with Leclerc, which may help the team.

Total-Motorsport.com journalists Adam Dickinson, Andrew Wright, Ed Spencer and Nigel Chiu take a look at what to expect from Ferrari in 2023.

Nigel Chiu: Ferrari will be in the title hunt in Abu Dhabi

For all the mistakes and reliability woes from Ferrari last year, I’m quietly confident they can repeat their early season performances, and this time, they will be in the title hunt all the way to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

If things are going wrong and the environment isn’t exactly healthy, it’s understandable when a team principal leaves. I believe Vasseur‘s appointment is a very good decision and if he can instil a new culture, where there is no fear, that alone will immediately cut out mistakes.

I also think the three Enricos – Enrico Cardile (head of the chassis), Enrico Gualtieri (head of the power unit) and Enrico Racca (head of supply chain and manufacturing) are some of the best in the business when it comes to technical expertise.

Ultimately, F1 is mostly about the car and I think Ferrari have all the ingredients, so can they execute? I think yes.

Andrew Wright: Another frustrating campaign for Leclerc

Oh what could have been for Ferrari in 2022. Alas, it wasn’t to be. My big fear is, that was as close as they will get for a while, although I hope I’m wrong as the sport is far better with them fighting at the front.

That being said, I expect them to produce another good car capable of mixing it with Red Bull and Mercedes at certain races. 

However, the strategic errors that thwarted them in 2022 will be hard to completely eliminate, especially with largely the same personnel still in place.

Such inadequacies just cannot be afforded if you want to sustain a world title challenge, especially with an improved Mercedes package to contend with. Second place will become third in 2023 and it’ll be another frustrating campaign for Leclerc.

The SF-23 unveiled at the Ferrari launch | Scuderia Ferrari

Ed Spencer: Sainz has a point to prove

When Leclerc and Sainz crossed the line 1-2 in the season’s curtain raiser in Bahrain 11 months ago, few could have imagined how badly the Scuderia’s season would unravel.

Naturally, the team principal had to carry responsibility, so out goes Binotto and in comes Vasseur, a prolific winner in the junior categories and someone who doesn’t take fools wisely.

On the driver front, Leclerc came on song in 2022 and should challenge Max Verstappen for the title, providing he gets the car and strategy he deserves.

Sainz, on the other hand, goes into the season with a point to prove, and with plenty of drivers snapping at his heels, beating his teammate will be a necessity.

Despite Vasseur rubbishing rumours of power unit gains, positive noises are coming out of Maranello, giving the hardened Tifosi hope that the title will be the prancing horse again.

Carlos Sainz, Frederic Vasseur and Charles Leclerc | Scuderia Ferrari

Adam Dickinson: Replacing Binotto with Vasseur wasn’t the right call

Ferrari have high hopes for their 2023 engine, and it will carry the hopes and dreams of the most iconic fanbase in motorsport.

If Ferrari perform, they could be the team to beat in 2023 given Red Bull’s aero testing deficit and the ground Mercedes have to make up.

I still don’t think replacing Binotto with Vasseur was the right call, given the former’s technical expertise. But they have already had that benefit for the genesis of the car and Vasseur should improve the team’s performance on raceday.

I predict they will be able to stick with Red Bull throughout the season, and if Mercedes can be at the front too then it should be a season to remember.

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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