In the round-up: Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur is planning to make changes at the top of the team in the near future but expects it will begin a process of continual adjustment.
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Vasseur plans continual change at Ferrari
Ferrari recently confirmed the departure of sporting director Laurent Mekies, who is joining AlphaTauri. Vasseur said revisions to the team’s leadership will begin soon and he doesn’t plan to leave it unchanged for long.
“We will make some changes in the coming weeks [and] in the coming months, in the coming years because some topics are a bit longer than some others,” he said. “But it’s a permanent evolution and permanent improvement.”
Vasseur, who took charge of the team in January, said he is “miles away” from having the structure he wants in place. “When you are doing my job that you don’t have to imagine that there is a perfect structure,” he said. “You need to be permanently [moving] forward, basically.
“You always need to to improve and always need to change things. If you stay with the same structure two years in a row, you are dead, because all the others will improve. It means that I don’t have a clear picture to say: ‘I have to do this, and full stop, and it will work’. It would be stupid.”
Melbourne gives up right to season opener
The promoters of the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne gave up their claim to hold the season-opening round of the Formula 1 world championship when they agreed a new, long-term deal with the series last year according to The Age. The newspaper also claims the promoters agreed a substantial increase in their fee in order to see off a rival bid.
In February last year the Sydney contingent presented Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali with a proposal to move the race to a new permanent circuit, built at a cost of up to $300 million (£236m), and offered an eye-watering annual fee of $100m, plus a share of the ticket sales. In response the Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews took over negotiations with Domenicali.
Melbourne is reported to have paid less than Sydney offered for the new 10-year deal which was announced in June last year, but they relinquished rights to the season-opener and agreed to pay more for the last three years on their previous deal, covering 2023 to ’25.
Australia has not held the season-opening race since the 2020 event was cancelled on the day practice was due to begin as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bahrain will hold the first race on the 2024 F1 calendar.
Blomqvist relishing challenge of ovals
Tom Blomqvist is eager to take on the “huge challenge” of racing on IndyCar’s high-speed over circuits when he joins the series full-time next year. It will be his first regular single-seater drive since 2021.
“I’m excited getting on the ovals,” he said. “Obviously that’s a completely new discipline that I have to get my head around.
“I’m quite lucky that I’ve got an opportunity in a few months’ time to hopefully get my first outing there, get a feel for that. But so far it’s just in the virtual world. That’s my only real experience of driving or kind of racing on an oval.
“At the end of the day we’ve seen quite a few drivers come over into IndyCar with very little if not no experience on the ovals and figure that out. If you’re a top-line driver, you should be able to get your head around those things.”
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