1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill says that Ferrari need to have a “good, long hard look at themselves” and questioned the lack of authority within the team.
Having started the new regulations introduced last year with the fastest car, Ferrari is soon approaching a year since one of its drivers last scooped a race win.
The Italian outfit’s SF-23 car has failed to build on the early promise of its predecessor, with Ferrari only scoring a solitary podium in the first eight races of 2023.
Ex-team boss Mattia Binotto was replaced over the winter at the helm by Frederic Vasseur, but Hill hints that he’s yet to be convinced the Frenchman is the right fit to guide the prized squad back to the top.
“They [Ferrari] need to have a good, long, hard look at themselves, or someone does,” Hill told The Express.
“It just seems this is the malaise that they perennially suffer from. It’s like, you’re not sure who’s really in charge there.
“It’s such a potent force in the sport, it needs the firm hand of someone like a Ross Brawn or a Jean Todt to grab it and get everyone to march with them.”
Fellow Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle, meanwhile, has sympathised with Vasseur’s current predicament in trying to reverse Ferrari’s flailing fortunes of recent times.
Brundle, who made 158 starts in F1 for an array of teams, has shown more faith in Vasseur’s credentials but warns the ex-Alfa Romeo chief he must avoid falling into the same revolving door that has befallen four others since Ferrari’s last title success.
“He knows which way is up. It has been a revolving door there and he’s got to be careful he doesn’t get caught up in it,” he said after the Canadian Grand Prix.
Vasseur has confirmed previously his intent to recruit engineers externally and Brundle asserts that he believes Ferrari needs to hire “four or five more like him”.
However, the Briton asserts that prizing away such technical talent from rival teams will not be an easy task, particularly when signing for Ferrari means relocating to Italy.
“You’re trying to attract world-class aerodynamicists and technicians and designers, but Aston Martin ramped up massively and have been hiring,” he highlighted. “Audi, with Sauber, are hiring.
“They’re at a premium, these people, and they’re not easy to get hold of and to get out of long-standing, long-term contracts, and then to get them to move to Italy with their family.”
Amid Ferrari’s dismal start to the campaign, Charles Leclerc’s future has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent months.
The Monegasque driver retains a contract until the end of 2024 and he has been persistently linked with the possibility of making a switch to Mercedes.
But with the German marque set to extend Lewis Hamilton alongside George Russell, former F1 race winner Ralf Schumacher has recently suggested Aston Martin could be a potential future destination for Leclerc.
However, Hill has poured cold water on the chances of Leclerc signing for the Silverstone outfit, citing that Fernando Alonso is unlikely to depart anytime soon.
“What options are there? There aren’t any,” Hill said of Leclerc’s alternatives outside of Ferrari.
“I suppose he could look at Aston Martin but I think Fernando’s got a two-year contract with them anyway. I think he’d probably step aside if they paid him enough money, but I don’t think he wants to give up a competitive drive.”