That was one of many apparent inquiries to emerge when the previous’s planned move to Faenza was announced on Wednesday within the wake of rumours about his potential departure.
Vasseur stays bullish, insisting in essence that Ferrari is a giant organisation and that it’s not about people.
Nonetheless, there’s little doubt that Vasseur noticed his fellow Frenchman and long-time buddy as one in every of his key lieutenants within the years to return as he tries to rebuild Ferrari right into a successful workforce.
It’s inevitable that the plans that he has been setting up will now have to alter as he strikes individuals round.
The truth that Mekies will stay in his put up for the foreseeable future, and received’t make the transfer till someday in 2024, says so much.
Firstly, this has all occurred in a short time and he’s wanted to fulfil his normal duties in the interim, and secondly it stays an amicable state of affairs. He hasn’t been dispatched on a right away gardening go away, which typically occurs immediately when a key participant places his hand up and says I’m off.
Certainly, Vasseur is adamant that he’s completely satisfied to see Mekies get an opportunity to affix the unique membership of workforce principals, whereas admitting that as but there’s no settlement on the exact particulars and timing of his departure.
Laurent Mekies, Racing Director, Ferrari Press Convention
Picture by: FIA Pool
“Initially, I feel it is a mega alternative for Laurent,” he says. “And I am contemplating additionally that I’ve a great relationship with him, and I will not block Laurent for positive.
“Then for those who discuss timeline, I feel that Toro Rosso [sic] was in all probability a bit aggressive on the press launch, and we now have a long-term contract with Laurent. And we’ll have to debate about particulars.”
Vasseur confirms that there’s no choice but on how lengthy Mekies will stay on frontline responsibility with Ferrari.
“This can rely upon the situation of the change. For positive as I mentioned earlier than, we now have a long-term contract with him and we’ll have to search out the perfect for Ferrari, and relying on when he’ll go away the corporate, and when he’ll transfer to Toro Rosso, we’ll resolve the top of the collaboration.
“However I am not scared about this, as a result of we’ll do it correctly, and the connection may be very Positive.”
So when did Mekies inform his boss that he needed to depart?
“That is the connection between Laurent and myself, and I will not disclose particulars,” says Vasseur.
“However we had a really open dialogue on this, as a result of I’ve recognized Laurent for 30 years. And I feel that it’s totally tough to refuse this type of proposal for him. And he was very open on the dialogue.
“I can completely put myself in Laurent’s place. And I feel it is fairly unattainable to refuse if you end up on this enterprise to change into a workforce principal.
“Now I am there to guard the pursuits of Ferrari. And it is Ferrari first and it will likely be at all times Ferrari first, and it implies that we’ll have to debate in regards to the situations of this.”
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23
Picture by: Ferrari
Vasseur can also be satisfied that Mekies will do a great job. Between his first spell at Toro Rosso and his transfer to Ferrari in 2018, the 45-year-old labored for the FIA as security director and deputy race director, and has thus seen the game from a really totally different angle. At Maranello he had an entire overview of all facets of the workforce.
“If you’re in search of a workforce principal in F1 you do not have so lengthy an inventory of individuals understanding F1, the FIA and so forth,” says Vasseur. “You’ve gotten an inventory of 5 or 10 individuals within the group.
“I feel he has a really, very broad understanding of the enterprise, coming from race engineer to the FIA. And for positive, in this type of job, you might be in search of somebody with an entire understanding of the enterprise. And I feel he’ll do a great job.”
One intriguing facet is that many noticed Mekies as a future Ferrari workforce principal, having held the deputy function.
Certainly, till Vasseur acquired the nod he may have been a possible successor for Mattia Binotto. So, may he have change into pissed off after lacking out?
“I feel for this you must ask to Laurent,” mentioned Vasseur. “However it’s true that if you wish to change into the workforce principal of an F1 workforce, you could have 10 jobs on the earth. It isn’t that you will discover it in every single place.
“It implies that if it was the non-public purpose of Laurent, I can completely perceive this. You need to be bold, Laurent is as an bold particular person, and I feel he did an excellent job for Ferrari. And I can perceive the motivation and the expectation factors.”
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04
Picture by: Lionel Ng / Motorsport Images
So what’s subsequent for Ferrari? Mekies coated plenty of floor at Maranello, and latterly as sporting director one in every of his foremost jobs was liaising with the FIA. Vasseur says it’s too early to say how he shall be changed, and by whom.
He provides that the workforce in any case has been hiring key individuals, however not but informed the world about it.
“He’s sporting director, so the opening is kind of massive. And it will likely be a part of the reorganisation of the corporate. that we’re in a protracted course of and it is taking time, however we’re recruiting so much outdoors, and you’ll have names fairly quickly.
“However it will likely be a part of the reorganisation, and we may cut up the job into two totally different positions as another groups are doing, and that is a part of restructuring.”
His buddy’s impending departure is clearly a private blow for Vasseur, however he insists that the workforce will work round it.
“To lose one particular person in 1600 it isn’t a drama,” he says. “The ability of the workforce is at all times extra essential and the facility of the group than the people. We’ve got to maintain this in thoughts, that a very powerful is the group.
“The group is there. We’re recruiting massively – we aren’t speaking, however we’re recruiting massively. And we’ll do step-by-step as a result of you may’t put an organisation in place in two weeks, completely the system of the recruitment in F1, it is fairly lengthy and painful.
“We’re engaged on it. However do not anticipate that someday you’ll have a brand new organisation. It will likely be step-by-step, and we’re placing one thing in place.”
Frederic Vasseur, Group Principal and Common Supervisor, Scuderia Ferrari
Picture by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
With senior engineer David Sanchez having just lately left forward of a transfer to McLaren in 2024, it’s beginning to appear to be an exodus of key gamers, however Vasseur says that it’s simply regular F1 enterprise.
He reiterates that there’s an even bigger image as he tries to make the workforce right into a successful machine as soon as extra.
“In each single workforce you must construct up your individual group and to construct up one thing.
“Now we now have to be clear that we’re talking, and it is completely not in opposition to Laurent and the abilities of Laurent and so forth, however we’re talking about two individuals in a gaggle of greater than 1000 individuals.
“For positive people are essential, however it’s nothing in comparison with the group. And we now have to construct up one thing on the group, not on people.
“And okay, Laurent determined to maneuver, and as I mentioned earlier than, I am absolutely respectful with the choice of Laurent, as a result of I feel it is a possibility for anybody. However this mid-term will not influence the event of Ferrari.
“When you could have over 1000 staff, and you’ve got a turnover of 6-7%, it implies that we now have 100 individuals a 12 months leaving the corporate and becoming a member of the corporate. Generally from a workers viewpoint you [the media] take note of one or two.
“We’ve got 100 individuals a 12 months becoming a member of the corporate, coming half from the opposite groups, half from the opposite enterprise.
“It implies that typically you might be paying plenty of consideration to names. However it’s not this which is driving the efficiency.”
The Ferrari workforce
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images