The Italian outfit’s strategy calls came under the spotlight last year after a number of high-profile costly errors.
This included bad pit calls at the Monaco Grand Prix that cost Charles Leclerc a potential victory, as well as a bizarre call that left the Monegasque driver as the only driver on intermediate tyres for the start of Q3 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The team was clear that it wanted to review matters over the winter, and the strategy issue became a priority for new team principal Fred Vasseur to look at after he took over from Mattia Binotto.
Vasseur’s early analysis was that it was wrong to blame the errors on an individual, as he felt that processes had been more at blame for what had gone wrong.
“When you are speaking about strategy or aerodynamics or another topic, you have to avoid being just focused on the top of the pyramid,” explained Vasseur earlier this year when asked about potential changes to the strategy team.
“Very often, when you are speaking about strategy, it’s much more a matter of organisation than just the guy who is on the pit wall.
“I’m trying to understand exactly what’s happened on every single mistake and what’s happened last year. And to try to know if it’s a matter of decision, if it’s a matter of organisation, or of communication?”
Inaki Rueda, Head of Strategy, Ferrari, and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1st position, on the podium
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
As the result of Vasseur’s work, sources have revealed that the Frenchman has taken action before the start of the season.
Chief strategy Rueda has been moved off his role on the pitwall and will now take a factory position that helps support the sporting elements of the team.
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Replacing him will be Ravin Jain, who has previously been a race strategy engineer at Maranello. The Indian is a graduate of Oxford University with a first-class degree in physics and a distinction in a master’s degree in mathematical and theoretical physics.
Vasseur has also made sure to clearly lay out areas of responsibility for himself and Ferrari’s race director Laurent Mekies.
From the Bahrain GP, Mekies will be focused on all the operations aspects of the team, while Vasseur will take charge of dealing with drivers, sponsors and the media.