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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

Vasseur rubbishes Mekies departure rumours, insists Ferrari is "solid"

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has dismissed wild talk that the squad risks losing several key figures in the wake of its disappointing start to the Formula 1 season.

Laurent Mekies, Racing Director, Scuderia Ferrari, Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

The shock resignation of senior design engineer David Sanchez last week triggered a wave of speculation that Ferrari could face fresh departures.

There were rumours that race director Laurent Mekies was looking at leaving, and even suggestions that Ferrari could be forced to take back Haas technical chief Simone Resta if it lost further design personnel.

Clarifying the situation ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Vasseur has insisted that the situation inside Ferrari was far from how it was being portrayed in some sections of the media – even though he admitted that the result of the first race was not great.

Asked by Autosport about the speculation of there being unhappiness inside Ferrari, Vasseur explained it would be wrong to claim everyone was joyful after the first race.

However, he made clear that talk of major trouble in the camp was wide of the mark as he emphasised that Mekies was someone very committed to being a part of Ferrari's future.

“To have people who are unhappy it's two different things,” he said. “I think that it's quite normal to be unhappy when you don't get the results that you are expecting, and I'm unhappy.

“But the most important is to work as a group, to work as a team and to try to get the best out of this and to do improvement.

“But leaving the company: it's another story. If you want to speak about Laurent, I don't know what's happened in the past with Laurent, but I've known Laurent for 25 years, something like this, when he was at school.

“I trust him, we have a very good collaboration together and he will be one of the pillars of the future of the company.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Ferrari

Vasseur said that it was normal at any team for there to be regular comings and goings of staff, but he was clear that the main figures in the squad were committed.

“Honestly it's the life of the team that we are recruiting a lot each year and we have a turnover each year,” he said.

“If you want to speak about key people [leaving], I don't think so. But for sure we will have people leaving the team and some people joining the team. It's like this in every single team in F1.

“We are a solid group and we are building up a team for the future also, and the link is good. So no, I don't think that key people will leave the team.”

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While losing Sanchez was not ideal, Vasseur did not want to elaborate on the circumstances of his departure.

“I don't want to discuss about the terms of the contract and conditions of the contract because it's something between the employees and the company,” he said. “I don't want to disclose any details.

“I just want to wish to David good luck for the future, that he did a good contribution to the team, but it is like it is. I don't want to disclose any details on this.”

While Resta had been linked as a possible replacement for Sanchez as Ferrari looks to restructure its technical department, Vasseur said he was not considering taking him away from customer team Haas.

“First Simone is the technical director of one of our customer teams,” he said. “He's doing a good job with Gunther and the plan is not to do something on this side.”

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