Audi told Vasseur not to turn down Ferrari

Audi told Vasseur not to turn down Ferrari

Formula 1

Audi told Vasseur not to turn down Ferrari


Fred Vasseur says Audi did not try and stop him moving to Maranello when he informed the German manufacturer of his potential new job. The new Ferrari team principal says he was told, “You can’t refuse an offer from Ferrari.”

Vasseur, the former Sauber Group CEO and Alfa Romeo team principal, replaced Mattia Binotto at Ferrari last month, with Andreas Seidl replacing him at Hinwil. Having turned Alfa Romeo into a strong midfield team last season, Vasseur had also been part of negotiations that saw Audi committing to invest in Sauber to enter Formula 1 in 2026, but says there was no attempt to convince him to stay.

“Sauber is a team that is staying close to my thoughts and I had a very good relationship with everyone in the team, so I wish them all the best for the future and Andreas also,” Vasseur said. “It’s a challenge — but it is always a challenge and I don’t imagine you can have an easy life in F1.

“When I had a call with Ferrari I didn’t share the call with everybody in the world! It was my own reflection and discussion with (Ferrari chairman) John Elkann, and I didn’t share it at all with Audi before the announcement.

“I had a chat with someone from Audi and they told me that you can’t refuse an offer from Ferrari.”

The move to Ferrari makes Vasseur the fifth person to lead the team in the last 10 years, but he insists past disappointments are no indication of the potential for the team to be successful moving forward.

“I’m really convinced that Ferrari today — and for sure my experience is limited to the last two weeks — is that we have everything to win. We have to put everything together to do a good job, but we have everything to win.

“Then I think you can have a look at the reasons of the last decades — the wheel is always rolling and it’s just a matter of continuous improvement. For me, if we are doing a better job than the others in a couple of months or years then we will be able to win.

“It’s not that anything is set in stone and if you look have a look at some teams they were in a very dominant situation a couple of years ago and they are nowhere today. You don’t have to take these directions that, ‘OK, it was like this the last decade or last 20 years and it will stay like this in the future.’ F1 is a changing world and we just have to be focused on the job, on the performance and everything is possible.”