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Ferrari captures "top" Mercedes figure to boost F1 recovery

Ferrari has captured one of Mercedes' senior figures as part of the restructuring process that team boss Fred Vasseur is undertaking at Maranello, Autosport has learned.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium, Loic Serra, Mercedes AMG F1 Head of Vehicle Dynamics

Photo by: Sutton Images

Just weeks after Vasseur revealed that he had signed a "top guy" to join the team in 2025, the identity of the individual has finally emerged as being Mercedes' performance director Loic Serra.

First reported by Italian website Formu1a.uno and confirmed to Autosport by sources with good knowledge of the situation, Serra has agreed to leave his current job and move to the Italian team.

However, it is understood that Vasseur and Ferrari are going to have to wait a while to get hold of Serra due to his current contract that runs until 2025.

Both Mercedes and Ferrari have declined to comment on the developments, but it is understood that negotiations are now taking place between Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Ferrari team boss Vasseur over the matter.

However, sources have suggested there is unlikely to be an early release.

Serra has a long history in Formula 1 having originally begun his career as a tyre engineer at Michelin, with a speciality in suspension and vehicle dynamics.

After Michelin announced its withdrawal from F1 at the end of 2006, Serra joined BMW Sauber as head of vehicle performance, before moving to Mercedes in 2010 originally as chief engineer of vehicle engineering.

He has since moved through the ranks, becoming head of vehicle dynamics in 2013, and then promoted to performance director in 2018.

Loic Serra, Mercedes AMG F1 Head of Vehicle Dynamics

Loic Serra, Mercedes AMG F1 Head of Vehicle Dynamics

Photo by: Sutton Images

His vast experience and understanding of performance targets will be a boost to Ferrari, which lost its head of vehicle concept David Sanchez to McLaren earlier this year. Sanchez is currently on gardening leave before joining the Woking-based squad at the start of 2024.

With it understood that Mercedes is unwilling to let Serra go soon, Ferrari may well have to wait until 2025 to get hold of him – something that Vasseur has previously been resigned to.

Speaking at the Canadian Grand Prix last month, Vasseur said that the signing of Serra – whom he did not identify – and the timing of how long it would take to get hold of him, were proof of the time scales needed to improve in F1.

"The issue in F1 is inertia," he explained. "On the one hand we look very agile. We change things, and overnight sometimes you have an issue, and you can fix it from one race to another one.

"But the reality of our business is that when you want to steer the boat a little bit, then we are not agile anymore. We know that if we want to recruit, we are speaking not in days, we are speaking in years.

"I signed a top guy a couple of weeks ago to join in 2025. He will only work on the car in 2025 and 2026.

"It seems a long wait. But. on the other hand, if you don't do it, it will be even worse in six months. You have to accept it as a basis of F1. If you stop at one stage, it means you will postpone again even more the impact."

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