Scuderia Ferrari continues to clean up after a catastrophic start to the season

Photo Scuderia Ferrari

After a 2022 season with a second place in the manufacturer's championship of Formula 1The objective was clear and announced by the senior management of Ferrari : win !

We all know the reality: Ferrari is 5th in the manufacturer's ranking with 0 podiumsSainz is 5th with 20 points and Leclerc 10th with 6 points. A catastrophic start to the season. Redbull is much stronger than expected, Aston Martin create the surprise and Mercedes goes up slowly but surely.

It is time for Scuderia Ferrari, after years of hopes and promises, to do a thorough cleaning within his team.

After Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, was dismissed in December 2022 to make way for Frédéric Vasseur, David Sanchez, chief engineer of the concept, was dismissed in March 2023 and will take over the management of McLaren, Inak Rueda, in charge of strategy, was demoted to another role, we learn today thatanother key man leaves the ship: Laurent Mekies assistant director of Vasseur and race director.

Photo Scuderia Ferrari

Arrived at the Scuderia in 2018, he was one of the executives of the team of Mattia Binotto. Since the beginning of the year rumors indicated that he wanted to leave. Rumors denied thereafter. Vasseur even said that Mekies is "one of the pillars of the team for the future".

In the end there is no smoke without fire since the announcement fell: Laurent Mekies leaves Ferrari to become Team Principal of the Alpha Tauri team in 2024. The statement does not specify when Mekies will leave the Scuderia: during the season? At the end of the season?

The list of departures should not stop there. Others will follow by the end of the season. Ferrari is in a phase of profound changes with the recruitment of new external people.

Indeed, Ferrari has recruited two important engineers from Redbull who will start their activity at the Scuderia in 2024. The names have not yet been disclosed.

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  1. The discipline is getting more and more complex. I really hope that an efficient team will finally be formed, the pilots are.

  2. I agree, Lucca M. was one of the last people to have met Enzo F. Moreover, the John Elkan reminds me of the Lagardère son who destroyed Matra and the whole group after the death of his father ......
    In short I persist that for me Binotto was not so bad and on the right track, especially if the rules had not been changed during the year to fill the gaps of mercedes with the porpoising

    • The problem with Binotto is that he is an excellent engineer (we can never take that away from him), but he needed a real leader above him. Elkann is the complete opposite of his grandfather and the more I see him and listen to him (I was able to meet him 3 times in Geneva), I have the impression of having a Marchionne version 2.0! It's all very well to say that his brother was more capable of running the company and we can't say that he has the charisma of Elkann, who thinks he's more of a bourgeois than anything else (he thinks more about glitter than anything else).
      Moreover I find that the reputation of Leclerc is overrated and Sainz underestimated.

      • John Elkann is an engineer from Turin Polytechnic, his competence in the automotive world is validated, his brother Lapo had a "hectic" high school education, did his military service, and nothing at all afterwards except internships, because the family's influence and interests are considerable. He was mainly involved in marketing, being charitable. It was Giovanni Agnelli who chose John. Lapo chose Goga Ashkenazi... among others. As for glitter, clubs, parties and tutti quanti I think you have the wrong brother...

      • To finish with J. Elkann, he doesn't think he's a "petit bourgeois" at all, he is indeed well on his way to reaching his second billion euros of personal fortune. And as for our late Sergio, when Exor took control of SGS it cost him some 600 million euros, when the company sold its shareholding it raised two billion... Which made it possible to become Chrysler's largest shareholder. The Peugeot family did not understand who they were dealing with...

        • "Our late Sergio" speak for you because no, there are many of us who do not regret it. Yes, Elkann thinks he's a little bourgeois and his years of study (which everyone knows) will never make him a leader. He has everything of the kost killer that of the engineer impassioned of the car. As much as his brother did not hide his nature, as much Elkann likes to appear... what he is not!
          We see the result between the 2 brothers, one left a company of personalization and others which goes up and does not know the crisis (because he listens to the needs of his customers), as much Elkann him his only pleasure, it is to fill the pockets and that of the shareholders.

          • I was only half joking about S. Marchionne, I am well aware that the last few years have been difficult for the FCA brands, between the plans that were not respected and the lack of follow-up of the models, but on the one hand we have to remember that he was totally devoted to his task (despite his illness) and on the other hand we have to remember the catastrophic state of the Fiat group in 2004. And this is the legacy of the great, the immense, the divine Gianni Agnelli. He left the Panda I in production between 1980 and his death. It remained in the catalog for 23 years, going from being a brilliant concept on wheels to a dinosaur. It was he who bought Lancia to make it a premium Fiat. Who degraded the image of Alfa Romeo. We must realize that the two friends we like to criticize so much saved the company and made it very profitable, managing to get hold of Chrysler at a lower cost after the Daimler fiasco. It was John Elkann who twice slammed the door on negotiations with PSA because he wasn't getting what he wanted - namely the executive position for himself, using Renault to put pressure on the other side. I think this guy looks like a lamb but has a remarkable will. My prediction is that he will take over Stellantis. When Fiat communicates that it is the first brand of the group it is not innocent.

          • Fredo, I don't agree with you because you forget a lot of elements in the history of Lancia and Alfa. It was not Agnelli who destroyed the image of Lancia but his son and especially Carlo Pesenti:

            "In 1955, the skyscraper housing the new company headquarters was inaugurated. It spans the Vincenzo Lancia avenue. The building was built and co-financed by Carlo Pesenti, the boss of Italcementi. Following the death of Alberto Ascari, the Lancia racing department is dismantled. All the cars were sold to Ferrari, which received substantial financial support from Fiat for the next five years[2]. In 1956, the management of the company becomes very delicate for Mrs. Lancia and the Italcementi group, one of the first cement manufacturers in the world, buys Lancia.
            In 1969, Lancia is integrated into the Fiat group. In 1975, Lancia V.I. trucks are integrated into the Fiat V.I. - IVECO range. The production of the typical Lancia models is stopped, only the military models remain in production plus the new PC 4×4 distributed under the brands Fiat V.I., Lancia, OM and Unic"!
            At the time it was Fiat that at the request of the Italian state sold the sports division of Lancia (which would end up... with Ferrari)."

            For Alfa, it is the Italian State (in the form of a financial holding of the mechanical sector Finmeccanica one of the multiple divisions integrated in the holding of the Italian State IRI) which made confetti of it (incoherent or archaic range and rebelotte one separates itself from the competition department) and the State put it in the paws of Fiat to the snatch whereas it was not either the joy at Fiat auto (it is even Fiatagri which took out the funds at the time)

            The biggest regret of Agnelli is not to have put the feet in the dish before for these 2 marks and to give them an independence as for Ferrari and especially not to have found "2 REAL LEADERS" for these 2 marks (they dedicated an admiration to the work carried out by Vincenzo Lancia).
            Unfortunately (you are right) he continued the decline believing that Alfa had a better image in the world than Lancia (which was totally the opposite and he will admit later that it was one of his biggest mistakes to have listened to the board of directors who preferred the US fashion (you take a chassis and everything else and you clone it all over the place to reduce costs but that also reduced the image).
            The same mistake was made with Maserati by not letting it have its own autonomy but under the supervision of Ferrari and the takeover by Fiat was nonsense even if the brand was doing better.

            You seem to have forgotten one thing about the Panda, that the "so-called" archaic box of tricks was still selling like hotcakes, so it's hard to get rid of such a coveted model without making a commercial failure of it.
            Now what is missing at the head of Stellantis is someone like Lucas Cordero Di Montezemolo because Elkann is too focused on shareholding and fast money.

          • Agnelli should have written a book, he would have called it "Gianni and the evil board of directors"... Ferrari was bought 18 years after Lancia, one year after the takeover of Alfa, why didn't he organize the sport pole that you claim to Elkann...

          • Fredo
            Fiat acquired a stake in Ferrari in... 1969, the same year they took over Lancia.
            Alfa became part of the Fiat Group in 1986.
            So revise your story Fredo because we are far from your "so called" 18 years after and even less 1 year after Alfa!
            The only brand to have returned to the fold is Maserati, so please review the history of the group.

            Instead, tell your Elkann to write the Book:
            "My great grandfather created, my grandfather expanded... and I'll show you how to screw it up!!!"
            Because to make a 4C, a Giulia, a Stelvio, a 124 and not to evolve any product (we can add the Tipo).... You have to have a lot of nerve, I'm not the one saying it, history shows it!

            So much so that you seem to forget that Agnelli was ready to sell GM all the automotive assets (except Ferrari and Maserati), because there was no potable leader behind.

            This is not me saying it either, but history.

          • Fredo, Marchionne's main fault was the same as Porsche's with VAG, it's the story of the Frog that wanted to become bigger than the ox. He lived with an archaic vision that thought that volume at all costs was the solution to everything, but like Napoleon and Hitler throughout history, he was stubborn and didn't understand that this type of empire collapses, as was the case with the big 3 in the USA 🇺🇸 (GM, Ford and Chrysler), which collapsed like a house of cards.
            You can criticize Gianni Agnelli but:
            Who made Fiat the global winner in the agricultural sector? Him
            Who made Fiat one of the winners in the truck, construction and recreational vehicle sector? That's who.
            Who developed all the foreign subsidiaries? He did.
            Since Elkann is in charge... what has he done that is so extraordinary? The 4C, the 124, the Stelvio, the 8C and the Giulia... we owe it to Marchionne!
            Marchionne may have been his mentor... but for the time being, nothing concrete has happened.
            Moreover, the American part of the car, whose renewal we have been waiting for years, never came (don't forget that all the chassis come from an old Mercedes that it got rid of quickly because of many problems, just like the platform of the first slk!

          • I said that Fiat bought Ferrari in 1989 and it's true, they had 50% shares in 1969 but it was Enzo Ferrari who was running everything, as always with this character. It is only after his death that Gianni Agnelli became the majority shareholder and the leader of the company, in fact... So he did not create this performance division with Lancia and Alfa and regrets afterwards are easy. Marchionne being chosen, appointed by and under the orders of Elkann, it's a bit strong to want to dissociate the balance sheets, and finally among all the (excellent, adding the 500 and the two Maseratis) products you mention, only the 124 8C and 4C (Dallara models actually produced in a few hundred units) have not had any follow-up, the Tipo, Giulia, Stelvio, have either changed engine, or equipment, or both. The real problem with Alfa Romeo is called CAFE regulation, which is what leads Maserati to propose today a GranTurismo (magnificent, as if it didn't destroy everything) that weighs almost 2.3 tons. It will take a lot of work to get a 1.5 tons electric Alfa compact car, and it will be very, very expensive for the final customer (we can even wonder if he exists, because with 30.000 euros today we can hardly get an e-208, counting the bonus).

          • As for a supercar, it shouldn't be long before we see bits and pieces of the 2023 Alfa Romeo "T33 Stradale" based on the MC20... Before the "baby Alfa" next year (and it will certainly be at the level of the MiTo, although not produced in Italy to my great disappointment). For the first time in a very long time, the range will include 5 different models.

          • In no case because even after the death of Enzo the statue of Ferrari has not changed anything.
            The 500? Marchionne? Well, let's see. The 500 project started long before he arrived (general manager of SGS from 2002 to 2004), except that the concept was created in 2003 and presented in 2004 (at the request of Giuseppe Morchio) and in 2003 he just joined the board of directors, period, so it's easy to pass on to him the work of others and he is the main cause of the separation of Maserati from Ferrari.
            Creating a competition division will never have the value of a department that has offered all the Laurier to a brand and this is well known and you can distort history but the 2 entities were sold before the brands were taken over. If the Lancia competition department wasn't so bad then why did Ferrari rush to do it? (Fangio's title at Ferrari was acquired thanks to a single-seater of Lancia origin.
            The 124 is a cooperation with Mazda, the 8C is a Maserati platform and the 4C is not a Dallara product, it is just one of the main subcontractors that many brands use (if I go by your principle, some Ferraris, the MC20 and MC12 are Dallara products then!) and it's not a few hundred but a few thousand.
            It was not Elkann who took the decision to hire Marchionne but the board of directors (Elkann just wanted to do everything to get rid of Morchio who had the support of Umberto before his death and that of Luca and that's why Marchionne did everything to get rid of Luca).
            No, there hasn't been any major evolution on any product of any brand since Elkann (oh yes, he spoiled us with the 159 family, which wasn't worth a damn with its horrible engines).
            124? Nothing
            4C? Nothing
            Giulia? Nothing
            Stelvio? Que dalle
            Granturismo and Cabrio? No way (the V6 Biturbo was announced many years ago along with the V8)
            Alfieri? In the trash
            You're also wrong on one point, the last Quattroporte was a... real failure (quite the opposite of its predecessor) and so was the Ghibli (when you don't want to evolve a product, don't be surprised).
            The future Alfa SuperCar will not be standard but ultra limited (the opposite of the MC20).
            The Tipo??? There was almost nothing in evolution and they are so stupid that they removed the basic models (morality... free fall).
            Alfa's real problem is not to continue to make references like the Stelvio or the Giulia and to go back to the same old ways (sharing and accessible prices with products... OF SHIT)!
            Lancia Ditto, so yes Morchio was right when he said that Fiat did not have the skills to manage Alfa and Lancia and that the best thing was to leave Alfa under the tutelage of Ferrari and Lancia under the tutelage of Maserati and Fiat Abarth in their corner.
            This would have avoided a lot of disillusionment and I'm not talking about the Artega mess for wanting to get it for a symbolic 1€ (the Total).
            It's simply time to put Alfa and Lancia back on the scene with sporty competitions that have a real attractive image all over the world... that's the problem and above all to create problems capable of competing with Lexus and BMW (which is also starting to hit rock bottom like Audi with the unsaleable Limousines to the point that the next A8... will end up in the graveyard).
            Alfa's F1 image is not sufficiently promoted and Lancia (the most successful brand in rallying) should return to it as well as Maserati in endurance racing.
            When I see the money thrown out the window to make FE that people watch ... we see that history has still not been learned and the error is constantly renewed.
            And the proposal of Mazda which was rejected by Elkann is a big mistake because this alliance with PSA brings nothing and like any (car) empire, building a house of cards on quicksand... you always end up at the bottom of the hole.
            As much as the American part was an excellent idea (and let them do it their way since they know the market there), an alliance with PSA would have been more appropriate.

          • I was not in the secrets of the board of directors of Fiat group in 2003. I was just reading the press and the CGIl said that the company was in a pre-bankruptcy situation. Today, it is still alive with beautiful products and lots of projects for the next five years. That's enough to make me happy, especially with a podium this weekend (finally).

          • I confess to you on this point I am interested more and more in the endurance and on this point, one cannot say that Ferrari it is failed because arrived and to make of such score... it is necessary to make it whereas they also have a pole F1 and for the moment they are the only ones to be able to make that.

          • In addition Fredo, Ferrari has introduced us to a young driver who is set to become a reference point because she drives like a goddess. Lilou is well on her way to becoming the example of a driver in Europe that everyone has been waiting for, because she's doing so well.

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