The Bahrain Grand Prix was very disappointing for Ferrari. The SF-23 underperformed and proved unable to match Red Bull or even Aston Martin – excluding Leclerc’s qualifying performance.
Charles Leclerc might have secured the lowest step of the podium and kept the resurgent Alonso behind at the end of the race, but a reliability issue prevented this scenario from unfolding.
The Maranello squad was expecting a difficult start to the first round of the season, but the Bahrain GP weekend turned out worse than expected. The Monegasque driver’s DNF was a huge blow for Ferrari and its winter development.
Another key departure at Ferrari: David Sanchez has resigned
Mattia Binotto’s resignation last November represented a huge change for the Italian squad, even though the relationship between Binotto and upper management had been deteriorating for some time.
Binotto’s departure always had the potential of triggering other resignations, it is no coincidence that rumours quickly began to circulate about engineers potentially evaluating their positions post-Binotto.
However, Vasseur’s gentle approach upon joining the team did not result in the immediate reshuffling of roles or the purge of some prominent figures within the Ferrari organisation. Meanwhile, the cellphones of several high-profile figures at Ferrari continued to receive calls with the +44 (UK) area code.
Among these was also the mobile phone of Ferrari’s Head of Vehicle concept, David Sanchez, one of the architects of last year’s F1-75 and the now heavily scrutinised SF-23.
At least so far, the Italian squad’s concept has been backed by Fred Vasseur, who does not believe the team’s slow start is reliant on aerodynamics. As Binotto did five months ago, the French engineer, of Spanish origins, has resigned from Ferrari.
The technician will leave his office in Maranello with immediate effect, abandoning the Scuderia after several years of work, where he had earned the promotion to become the point of reference in the aerodynamic department of the historic Scuderia.
After gardening leave, Sanchez will return to McLaren.
Ferrari, contacted to comment on the news, declined to release any statement. The aerodynamicist entered the news during the three-day test in Bahrain for a very long chat with a visibly dissatisfied Charles Leclerc. David Sanchez will now have to complete a period of gardening before returning to work in England.
The technician initially joined the Scuderia from Woking (Mclaren), and it is there that he will return to work.
James Key’s technical team, following the loss of several prominent figures over the winter, is on the lookout for prominent figures. While waiting for structural reinforcements, such as the new simulator and the new wind tunnel, Zak Brown’s team aims to strengthen the technical department.
This push has resulted in bringing the now-former head of Ferrari aerodynamics to the aid of James Key.
Authors: Piergiuseppe Donadoni & Paolo D’Alessandro
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang