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Ferrari

Why Hamilton's arrival will ease Vasseur's Ferrari concerns

Lewis Hamilton will reunite with a familiar face when he joins Ferrari next year, and it may well boost a huge advantage to Frederic Vasseur's position within the team.

Vasseur Bahrain Testing
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

A major change is coming to Ferrari next year when Lewis Hamilton makes the trip from Mercedes to Maranello in what is one of the biggest driver transfer market swaps in Formula 1 history.

While it will be new colours and new territory for the seven-time World Champion, Hamilton will be reunited with a familiar face in Team Principal Fred Vasseur - and Hamilton’s arrival may benefit the Frenchman in more ways than one.

The duo collaborated for the first time in 2005, two years before Hamilton made his F1 debut with McLaren. The then 20-year-old switched to Vasseur’s ART Grand Prix team in the Formula 3 Euro Series having finished fifth in the standings the year before with Manor Motorsport.

The partnership was a monumental success with Hamilton winning 15 races out of 20 en route to the title before following up his path to F1 with another championship under Vasseur’s leadership in the 2006 GP2 Series.

By the time Vasseur rose to team management in F1, Hamilton was already a multi-time World Champion and had forged a new bond with Mercedes’ leader, Toto Wolff.

Vasseur spent one year at the helm of Renault before leaving the team and taking up a position at Sauber. There, the Frenchman grew his reputation to a place where he was a viable candidate to spearhead Ferrari’s F1 operations.

Holding such responsibility in what is arguably F1’s most scrutinised team bears a great weight and has seen many recent appointments last a short period before being ousted.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Vasseur's task

Vasseur has been tasked with taking Ferrari back to the front of the grid and to a position of championship-winning form that it has not been seen since the late 2000s.

Adding the sport’s most successful driver to its arsenal is a strong statement to make and, with Hamilton still operating at a high level, the 103-time Grand Prix winner can make a significant contribution to Ferrari’s revival.

With the departure of Maurizio Arrivabene and Mattia Binotto in recent years, Ferrari’s board has not hidden the fact that unsatisfactory results will not come without change.

However, even some 12 months prior to his arrival at the team, Hamilton voiced his support for Vasseur and asserted that his signature would not have been secured without the Frenchman in place at Ferrari.

“It really wouldn't have happened without him,” Hamilton told media including RacingNews365. “I have a great relationship with Fred. Obviously, I raced with him in Formula 3. We had amazing success in F3 and also in GP2. That's really where the foundation of our relationship started. We just always remained in touch.”

Given Red Bull’s current advantage over the field, Ferrari’s deficit will likely not be closed up in a mere matter of months.

As the team targets a return to the front of the field, Hamilton’s experience and success will see him be a voice listened to within the organisation.

It’s quite telling that Hamilton is already emitting positivity over his relationship with Vasseur and the two will look to re-establish the working partnership that brought great success almost 20 years ago.

Even if it takes time to get there, with Hamilton’s backing, Vasseur may not face such an unforgiving assessment from Ferrari if it feels progress is not being made fast enough.

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