Audi told Vasseur: 'Ferrari's made an offer you can't refuse'


It might sound like a bit of dialogue from the script of The Godfather, but it seems that Ferrari literally made Frédéric Vasseur an offer he couldn't refuse to become their new team principal.

And that verdict came from none other than Audi, who have just started the process of taking over Vasseur's former squad Sauber ahead of entering into Formula 1 full time in 2026.

Vasseur revealed this week that they had encouraged him to take the job at Maranello, and that he was told 'you can’t refuse an offer from Ferrari'.

But even though it's undoubtedly the right call, Vasseur admitted that it had been a wrench to leave the team that he has been working with since 2017.

“Sauber is a team that is staying close to my thoughts," he told the media this week. "I had a very good relationship with everyone in the team, so I wish them all the best for the future.

Vasseur added his best wishes for the future to Andreas Seidl, the former McLaren team principal who is taking over at the helm at Sauber. But his own sights are firmly set forward to his new role at Ferrari.

“It’s a challenge, but it's always a challenge and I don’t imagine you can have an easy life in F1," he said, recalling the phone conversation he had with Ferrari's president that changed his life.

“When I had a call with Ferrari I didn’t share the call with everybody in the world! It was my own reflection and discussion with John Elkann, and I didn’t share it at all with Audi before the announcement.

“I did have a chat with someone from Audi, and they told me that you can’t refuse an offer from Ferrari.”

The role of Ferrari team principal is not one normally associated with job security. Since Jean Todt's reign at Maranello which saw the team capture seven constructors championships, it's been something of a revolving door.

Stefano Domenicali took over from Todt in 2008 and guided the team to another title that season. He left in 2014 and was succeeded by Marco Mattiacci, Maurizio Arrivabene and most recently Mattia Binotto.

But while none of those team bosses succeeded in winning a team title for Ferrari, Vasseur is confident that the Scuderia is now in the right position to reclaim the crown from the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes.

“I’m really convinced that Ferrari today — and for sure my experience is limited to the last two weeks — is that we have everything to win," he said.

"We have to put everything together to do a good job, but we have everything to win," he said. “Then I think you can have a look at the reasons of the last decades.

"For me, if we are doing a better job than the others in a couple of months or years then we will be able to win.

"The wheel is always rolling and it’s just a matter of continuous improvement," he explained. “It’s not that anything is set in stone.

"If you look have a look at some teams they were in a very dominant situation a couple of years ago and they are nowhere today.

"You don’t have to take these directions that, ‘Okay it was like this the last decade or the last 20 years so it will stay like this in the future.’

"F1 is a changing world and we just have to be focused on the job, on the performance - and everything is possible.”

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