David Sanchez

Rumor: McLaren to hire Senior Ferrari Technical designer (Update)

(GMM) Another key member of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team has departed.

Over the winter, Frederic Vasseur moved to Maranello to replace ousted team boss Mattia Binotto, who was followed through the exit door shortly afterwards by chief strategist Inaki Rueda.

And now, specialist Italian publications report that Ferrari’s head of vehicle concept, David Sanchez, has departed.

La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that the Frenchman, who joined Ferrari in 2012 and was a key ally of the axed Binotto’s, will now go on ‘gardening leave’.

Sky Italia, meanwhile, claims that former Renault and McLaren engineer Sanchez will now return to a British team – believed to be Woking-based McLaren.

Sources close to Ferrari denied that Sanchez’s departure is linked with the disappointing results of the Bahrain GP, but former team boss Stefano Domenicali warned the Italian team that it must now tread a fine line.

“Saying ‘we are Ferrari’ is no longer enough,” the F1 CEO told Sportmediaset.

“They now need to work on the weak points in order to grow without becoming typically Italian and emotional. Only with determination can you get out of difficult situations,” Domenicali added.

Curiously, as Domenicali warned about emotional reactions, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has reportedly given the German team’s technical director Mike Elliott an “ultimatum” related to improving the 2023 car.

Wolff says decisions need to be made quickly and correctly.

“Otherwise, this season is over early and the next one is already in jeopardy,” he warned.

It is rumored that James Allison could be set to return to Mercedes to help the former champions radically develop its disappointing new single-seater.

“It takes time,” Elliott said, “but you will see some visible changes on the car at the next grand prix.”

Wolff has already flagged potential changes to Mercedes’ unique ‘no sidepod’ concept.

“To be honest,” said George Russell, “if we put a Red Bull sidepod on it next week, I don’t think it will make it any better.

“I think the magic happens under the floor and other areas of the car that we can’t see.”

March 9, 2023 

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Italian media MotoriOnline.com reports that Ferrari’s Head of aerodynamics and vehicle concept, David Sanchez, is leaving the F1 team and, after a gardening leave period, will go to work for McLaren.

He originally left McLaren in October 2012 to go work for the Ferrari F1 team.

He was then promoted to lead the entire aerodynamics department in 2019, before his promotion to chief engineer, head of vehicle concept in 2019.

He was instrumental in making last year’s F1-75 fast and in contention for wins, and also was a key figure in the design of the current SF-23.

It is possible, with Fred Vasseur now at the helm at Ferrari, Sanchez felt his job was at risk, and rather than be fired, he resigned, so he can return back to McLaren from which he came.


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