Ferrari could be on the brink of losing a second key team member as the crisis at the Italian giants deepens. The Scuderia got their 2023 campaign off to a poor start in Bahrain, with Charles Leclerc forced to retire with engine problems, while Carlos Sainz could only struggle to fourth after being overtaken by Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso late on.
It follows on from their deflating 2022 season, where Leclerc finished 146 points behind eventual champion Max Verstappen despite seeming set to seriously challenge the Red Bull man early on. Amid a series of strategic blunders, Team Principal Mattia Binotto left at the end of the campaign, ending a 28-year association with the Italian giants.
And in the aftermath of Bahrain, Monegasque man Leclerc reportedly wrote to Ferrari chiefs to request a crisis meeting with chief executive John Elkann. Furthermore, head of aerodynamics David Sanchez is widely expected to move to McLaren.Link
Another departure could also be imminent, with speculation mounting over race director Laurent Mekies. In 2018, Mekies left his role with the FIA to join the team, initially as sporting director.
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According to Formu1a.unoLink, the 45-year-old Frenchman has signalled his intention to leave and is weighing up three offers, most notably from a resurgent Alpine. The Italian Formula 1 site has reported his former employers are also interested.
"The Frenchman has offers from Alpine, Liberty Media and the FIA itself," they said. "But his contract with Ferrari would be quite complicated to break without incurring a hefty fine."
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Ferrari chief Fred Vasseur, who replaced Binotto, is already said to be 'fed up' with matters, citing a lack of influence on his new team. And another dismal display in Saudi Arabia this weekend will only serve to exacerbate the current ill-feeling.
Should Mekies move to Alpine, it would prove a boost to a team who had a troubled Bahrain Grand Prix of their own. Esteban Ocon faced three time penalties in the race before retiring while Pierre Gasly started last, following a mistake in qualifying, before racing up the order to finish ninth.
But despite the potential the team still doesn't truly know the true pace of their cars and they'll be hoping for an incident-free race next time out in Saudi Arabia.2023-03-13T21:50:44Z dg43tfdfdgfd