'Climate of fear at Ferrari, engineers sent resume to other F1 teams'

'Climate of fear at Ferrari, engineers sent resume to other F1 teams'

11-03-2023 09:02 Last update: 09:18

One race has been completed this season and at Ferrari, meanwhile, things are already nice and Italian: restless. With David Sanchez, a technical leader is about to leave, but more engineers may follow his example. Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, is also said to have expressed his dissatisfaction with the way things are going with Ferrari's board.

Leading La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote in its print edition on Saturday morning that Leclerc has requested a meeting with president John Elkann in Maranello on his return to Maranello to discuss the situation. The Monegasque is clearly concerned because with Frederic Vasseur replacing Mattia Binotto, the gap to Red Bull Racing had to be closed, but at the moment the SF23 is in a much less competitive position than the F1-75 was in 2022.

For Leclerc, it is his fifth season at Ferrari and in that time he has never been able to fight for the world title over a full season. The 25-year-old driver may be getting a bit impatient and that will no doubt cause nerves at the Italian formation. Leclerc's contract expires after the 2024 season and if he does not renew, he will be free to go wherever he wants. Mercedes was mentioned in the rumour circuit earlier this year as a possible destination.

Unrest at Ferrari

According to the pink Italian sports newspaper, Leclerc's departure is out of the question for now, as winning the world championship with Ferrari is his boyhood dream. However, something would then have to start working on tyre degradation and engine reliability. In both 2022 and 2023, these are (for now) the factors preventing a battle with Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing.

Internally at Ferrari, there is great unrest. Sanchez has quit of his own accord and appears to be making the move to McLaren after team boss Andrea Stella approached him. Moreover, Sanchez, like fellow engineers, is said to have already shared his curriculum vitae (CV) with rival Formula 1 teams this winter. Iñaki Rueda, last year's strategy chief and now demoted by Vasseur as part of the reforms, is also said to be exploring his options elsewhere. Culture watchers Gino Rosato and Jonathan Giacobazzi have already left Ferrari by the back door.

Binotto departure not beneficial

When Binotto left after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year, a power vacuum was created. The design of the 2023 car suffered considerably here. There is a climate of fear and that another reason why big foreign engineers are reluctant to come to Ferrari. No one dares to take responsibility for risky choices. The development of the SF23 is said to have ended early, without examining some of the ideas that were on the table. At least, those are the noises in the Italian media.