Almost exactly one month ago Frederic Vasseur hired as new team leader at Cleaner. The Frenchman replaces Monisha Kaltenborn, who had to leave the Swiss team in June. With Vasseur, after a turbulent time, both on and off the track, Hinwil will finally be at peace again. And Vasseur himself hopes for a more relaxed working environment than his previous employer Renault, where he said goodbye at the beginning of the year.
In Enstone Vasseur was also active as team leader in the season 2016, but there was no free hand. All important decisions had to be clarified with Renault sports director Cyril Abiteboul. Already in January Vasseur explained to Motorsport-Total.com: “It is difficult to lead a Formula One team if you do not have the same goal and do not follow the same philosophy.”
” Amen. d. Red.) to convince, but I did not succeed. And then it is better to go,”said the Frenchman at the time. In any case, it was an experience,”says Vasseur, looking back with a smile, and adds:”I have learned something from it.”At Cleaner, after his negative experience at Renault, he will at least no longer compromise of this kind.
Complete focus on Clean
It fits in the picture, Vasseur initially rejected an earlier offer of clean this year. The first contact with Hinwil was already in May. At the time Vasseur was still wanted on board as a sports director, but he refused. Only after Kaltenborn’s departure the Frenchman showed interest in the vacancy as team leader. In the following there were some “good talks” with the owners of the team.
Vasseur agreed with the Clean Leadership around Pascal Picci, the chairman of the board of the Clean Holding appointed by owner Longbow, on how to proceed with the team in the future –unlike at Renault. And because Vasseur gets more or less free hand from the owners, he declares in return that he is ready to concentrate completely on his work in Hinwil.
“I don’t have to share my time”, he makes clear and says: “I still have shares in my’old’business, but I am no longer involved in day-to-day management at all. For example, Vasseur’s ART team is active in Formula 2 this year. But other people take care of the day-to-day business. This would have been the case at Renault at the time.
But where does it go for cleanliness under Vasseur?” In the short term, it will be very difficult to achieve anything,”the Frenchman is aware and explains:”It is a long-term project. But we are convinced, But Vasseur knows: “But of course we have to stick to it.”
Vasseur measures the middle field in the long term
Because with just a little more than 300 employees Clean is currently one of the smallest Formula-1 teams. Comparison: For a top team like Mercedes or Ferrari, it is the 900 employees, and even a mid-field team like Williams brings it to more than 500. Clean definitely needs catching up. But Vasseur is optimistic and explains: “Of course we need to improve, but the team’s structure is good.”
“Now that the financial structure has been stabilised, we can have some hope for the future,” Vasseur says, saying, and revealing that a great team transformation is not necessary at all. You already have good people in the important positions and now you just have to invest “step by step” to further strengthen the team. Then you want to connect to the middle field as soon as possible.
“In the field there are three or four top teams”, recalls Vasseur and explains: “Then comes the middle field, and in this group there is another ahead in each race. Between square eight and 18, it’s pretty open. Our goal must be to get it into the middle field.”With five points, clean is currently in the last World Cup place. 2016 there were even only two meters in the whole season.
At that time you could leave Manor behind. But since the backbench team is no longer present this year, Clean 2017 is the clear end of the royal class. As early as 2018, this should change again if possible. Then the team that is on the road this year with previous year’s drives will get, among other things, the latest Ferrari engines –one of Vasseur’s first official acts.