When Ferrari dropped points after a brilliant start to 2022, the question arose whether it would not be good to make the position of Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen's title rival, more important within the team. However, the top brass at Maranello did not want to appoint the Monegasque as the Scuderia's first driver. Pending the likely retirement of Mattia Binotto, which is reportedly almost formally finalised, Frederic Vasseur is the leading candidate for the succession. Sources around Ferrari believe that Vasseur is able and willing to openly state that Leclerc will be the first driver should he be appointed as Ferrari's new team boss.
According to Formulapassion.it, the Monegasque is interested in a future at Mercedes when Hamilton steps down and therefore there would be a great degree of urgency for Ferrari to keep Leclerc attached to the team. His current contract expires after 2024. The Italian newspaper underlines that Vasseur could still be the right person to be able to keep Leclerc with the team. For instance, Vasseur would know how to deal with hierarchies, something the Monegasque is keen on. However, Leclerc's role in the choice does raise questions. The Monegasque has known Vasseur since 2018 when Leclerc drove at Sauber. In addition, the pair maintain good ties with Nicolas Todt, Leclerc's manager and son of former Ferrari boss Jean Todt. Leclerc's role is seen as influential in the appointment of Vasseur and hence Binotto's departure.
One thing is certain: Ferrari has not yet found a replacement for Binotto, but it is a matter of time before the Italian's departure is announced.