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Interview: Frédéric Vasseur – Racecar Engineering

Interview: Frédéric Vasseur - Racecar Engineering

On 9 January 2023, Draveil, France-born Frédéric Vasseur, started the role of Scuderia Ferrari General Manager and Team Principal. Vasseur’s motorsport career has been vast, beginning in 1992 while still studying Aeronautical Engineering at ESTACA (École Supérieure des Techniques Aéronautiques et de Construction Automobile) in Paris, preparing Formula 3 engines for Renault with his company, RPM. After graduating in 1995, he set up the ASM team, racing in Formula 3 in 1996 and ran the operation up to 2015, winning various titles, including the French one in 1998 with David Saelens at the wheel. He won the European title four times between 2004 and 2007, with Jamie Green, Lewis Hamilton, Paul Di Resta and Romain Grosjean.

In 2004, he created a second team, ART Grand Prix winning eighth teams’ championships across GP2 and GP3 and eleven drivers’ titles, including clinching the 2016 GP3 crown with Charles Leclerc. An inquiring mind and a willingness to explore new avenues led Vasseur to set up AOTech in 2010, a company specialising in driving simulators and CFD design. Two years later, along came Spark Racing Technology, designing and manufacturing hybrid and electrical systems. The company secured the contract to supply Formula E chassis when the category for fully electric single-seaters was first set up by the FIA (Federation Internationale Automobile) in 2014. Frédéric first appeared in the Formula 1 paddock in 2016 as Renault Team Principal. The following year, he became Managing Director of the Sauber Group and Team Principal of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, which morphed into Alfa Romeo Racing in 2019, running Ferrari power units.

Vasseur explains the challenges of Formula 1 and what it takes to be competitive in the current era.

Q: How has working in F1 evolved over the last seven years, whether in management, engineering, or another role in the sport?

‘The weight of teamwork is much more important than the weight of individuals nowadays, much more so than it was just a few years ago. It is more a matter of team achievement because the large size of the teams requires more coordination within the departments. A single person’s influence is less, but that isn’t to say they are less critical because they are now more specialised than ever. Formula 1 is evolving in a way that responds better to specialists than individuals with an overview of a particular subject. However, with that, there has been the requirement to more…

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