Ferrari hires Frederic Vasseur as new team principal

Ferrari Frederic Vasseur principal
Arnold Jerocki - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Chasing its first Formula One drivers title in 15 years, Ferrari is counting on experience and familiarity by hiring Frederic Vasseur as team principal.

His hiring set off a chain reaction with Andreas Seidl leaving McLaren to replace Vasseur in overseeing the Sauber program (which will partner with Audi on its entry into F1). McLaren promoted its executive racing director Andrea Stella to replace Seidl.

That comes a day after Williams announced that its team principal Jost Capito and technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison were leaving after the team finished last in the constructors’ championship – meaning four of the 10 teams changed leadership in a 24-hour span.

Vasseur, 54, was most recently team principal at Sauber and Alfa Romeo and has had an extensive career in F1 and auto racing. He worked with Ferrari lead driver Charles Leclerc at Sauber, and the pair already have a solid relationship.

Known for fostering driver talent, Vasseur was also behind Nico Rosberg’s and Lewis Hamilton’s GP2 titles in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

“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,” Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna said Tuesday as the Italian automaker appointed Vasseur. “This approach and his leadership are what we need to push Ferrari forward with renewed energy.”

Vasseur, a Frenchman, replaces Mattia Binotto, who was let go following a hideous season of botched strategy calls that cost Leclerc any chance to contend for the championship.

Leclerc opened with two wins in the first three races and seemed poised to challenge Max Verstappen for the F1 title but finished nearly 150 points adrift and without a win since July.

Carlos Sainz Jr. is Ferrari’s other driver.

“As someone who has always held a lifelong passion for motorsport, Ferrari has always represented the very pinnacle of the racing world to me,” Vasseur said. “I look forward to working with the talented and truly passionate team in Maranello to honor the history and heritage of the scuderia and deliver for our tifosi (fans) around the world”.

Ferrari last won a drivers title with Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 and its last constructors title followed a year later.

The last Frenchman to lead Ferrari’s team was Jean Todt from 1993-2007. Todt oversaw an impressive era of success — six drivers titles with Michael Schumacher (five) and Raikkonen, plus eight constructors titles.

Supercross: Enzo Lopes will race with ClubMX in 2024

Lopes ClubMX 2024
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Coming off his best Supercross season to date, Enzo Lopes has re-signed with Muc-Off / ClubMX Yamaha and will race for the team in 2024. The deal is for Supercross only.

Enzo Lopes won his heat race in Denver and finished fourth in the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

Lopes debuted in the Supercross series in 2019 on a Suzuki and scored his first top-10 finishes in his last two starts of that season. Showing consistent improvement, he earned six top-10s in eight Main events the following year and finished fifth in the 250 East standings. In 2022, he scored his first top-five at Daytona and finished in the top five in points again.

“I am happy to be returning to ClubMX for another season,” Lopes said in a press release. “It is like family to me there and that is very important. Although I had many options, staying where I am makes the most sense for many reasons. The bikes are great, the people are great, the tracks are amazing, and I am surrounded by people that care about me. We all want to win and together we will get there.”

While he improved his season-best performance by only one position this year, it was nevertheless a breakout season. Lopes barely missed the podium three times in 2023 with fourth-place finishes at San Diego, Seattle, and Denver.

His strong performance him rumored to be speaking with factory teams.

“We could see the growth from Enzo every time he gets on the bike,” said team owner Brandon Haas. “We all knew it was just a matter of time before he would be noticed by everyone, and we are proud of him on many levels. He had some heat race wins and qualified fastest at three events this season. It would be hard not to be noticed going that fast. He had a big decision to make and we are glad he chose to stay with us at ClubMX.”

Lopes had three podium finishes in heat races this year, including a win preceding his fourth-place finish in Denver.

Lopes will join Jeremy Martin, Phil Nicoletti and Garrett Marchbanks, who announced a two-year extension with the team in January, at the ClubMX team.