The departure of David Sanchez from Ferrari has come at the worst time for the Ferrari Team. The Frenchman has been a crucial part of the team’s success over the past decade, having been in charge of the design and development of their cars for the past two seasons.
Sanchez originally joined the team from McLaren back in 2012 as principal aerodynamicist, before quickly rising through the ranks to become chief aerodynamicist and then eventually chief engineer and head of vehicle concept.
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During his tenure, Sanchez played an instrumental role in Ferrari’s return to form in 2017, helping to turn the SF-70H into a race winner alongside Simone Resta. His departure now, at a time when Ferrari is already facing a challenge to close the gap to Red Bull, could not have come at a worse time.
With other senior figures at rival teams likely to need to take lengthy periods of gardening leave before joining new teams, Ferrari will almost certainly need to shuffle staff internally to make up for Sanchez’s absence in the short term.
But the departure of Sanchez is just one of the challenges facing Ferrari this season. Team principal Fred Vasseur has made it clear that he expects every department at Maranello to strive to do better, and that nobody will be immune from his push for improvement.
Speaking ahead of the season opener in Bahrain, Vasseur emphasized the importance of every member of the team contributing to the development of the car. “If the guy on the production can produce a bit faster, or a bit lighter or a bit cheaper, it will be a support for the development of the car,” he said.
But after a disappointing weekend in Bahrain, where Ferrari was outclassed by Red Bull and beaten by Aston Martin, Vasseur promised a deep analysis of where things had gone wrong. “The most important thing now is to be able to have a clear picture of the situation where we are failing, and to do a proper analysis on this and to conduct a stronger response,” he said.
The departure of Sanchez will undoubtedly be a setback for Ferrari, but Vasseur’s push for improvement shows that the team is committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed. Whether they can overcome the challenges they face this season remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Ferrari will not rest until they are back on top.