F1 Musical Chairs: Several Team Announce New Team Principals

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What a wild couple of days on the F1 front. We thought silly season was wrapped up — and it was, as far as drivers are concerned — but then the team principals asked us to hold their beers.

The pit boxes got a shake-up over the last few weeks, starting with the news that Mattia Binotto had resigned from his position at Ferrari.

As you might expect, the Scuderia became the domino that needed to fall before all other moves started happening. On Monday, news broke that Williams’ team principal Jost Capito was leaving the team, which I thought might foreshadow the beginning of an onslaught of team boss moves.

I was crossing my fingers for what would’ve amounted to a Capito/Binotto one-for-one swap.

I was partially right; at least as far as it signalling the start of a flurry of activity. Unfortunately, being partially right means I was also partially wrong.

I was also very, very wrong.

And I was wrong about essentially everything else.

So let’s quickly unpack all the team boss moves that have happened so far.

Frédéric Vasseur
Frédéric Vasseur has been announced as Ferrari’s newest team principal. (Photo by Steven Markham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Frédéric Vasseur Leaves Sauber For Ferrari

Frédéric Vasseur has led Sauber — which will continue to race under the name Alfa Romeo through the end of this season for five years. Once it was clear that the most famous team in Formula 1 was going to be team principal-less, his name was one of the first to come up.

And for good reason. Vasseur worked at Renault before taking the team principal in addition to serving as managing director and CEO.

Through his tenure with Sauber, the team has had some connections to Ferrari. The most obvious ones being the use of Ferrari power units and a propensity to give one of the team’s seats to a Ferrari junior driver, which they didn’t do last year.

It was under Vasseur that lead Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc made his Formula 1 debut so bringing in someone who has already worked with one half of the driver lineup is a good start. While Vasseur has noted that Ferrari team principals don’t have the longest shelf lives, he’s definitely the best option available for the job.

Plus, it’s tough to say no if asked to become Ferrari’s team principal.

Andreas Seidl
Andreas Seidl left his post at McLaren to become the new CEO at Sauber. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Andreas Seidl To Alfa Romeo

Vasseur’s move from Sauber’s Switzerland-based operation down to the confines of Ferrari’s Maranello HQ left a new vacancy.

There wasn’t even time to assess who would be good for this job, because, in something of a surprise, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl quickly got the job.

This is a great move by Sauber. Seidl was a big part of McLaren starting to turn things around in recent years. Under Seidl and CEO Zak Brown, the iconic team made it back to the top step of the podium with Daniel Ricciardo’s win at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

Yeah. I’m well aware that last year was not McLaren’s year. Not only did they design an unwieldy car, one of their drivers had a harder time coming to grips with it, making regular points scoring difficult.

Seidl takes on more responsibility as his new role will be that of CEO starting in early 2023. It’ll be interesting to see if he handles team principal duties trackside.

McLaren promoted Andrea Stella from executive director of racing to team principal following Andreas Seidl’s departure. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

McLaren Hires From Within

You know the drill by now: the team principal leaves, which means another team has a position to fill.

As soon as Seidl’s move was announced McLaren CEO Zak Brown announced that a familiar face was his team’s new team principal.

And they don’t even have to re-monogram the initials on the team principal’s stuff…

Before his promotion, Andrea Stella was the team’s executive director of racing. He comes with a wealth of experience. he spent 15 years at Ferrari where he worked with several world champions.

At the Scuderia, he was the performance director for both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. He also served as race engineer for Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.

There’s still one unaccounted-for team principal job and that’s at Williams, who will be looking to replace Capito

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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