Ferrari reveals two major F1 signings poached from Mercedes


Ferrari has appointed Jerome d'Ambrosio – formerly Toto Wolff's effective deputy at Mercedes – as its deputy team principal and head of the Formula 1 Driver Academy, as well as confirming the hiring of former Mercedes performance director Loic Serra as its new chassis boss. Performance engineering.

Former Formula 1 racer D'Ambrosio fills the gap left by the departure of Laurent Mekes to become RB team boss ahead of this season. As sporting director, Mikis was Fred Vasseur's deputy at Ferrari.

Both D'Ambrosio and Serra will start working at Ferrari on October 1 of this year.

Having been first team vice president and then general manager of the Venturi Formula E team at the end of his driving career, d'Ambrosio's official role at Mercedes was to oversee the young driver programme.

But his arrival at the start of 2023 was also aimed at giving Wolff a dedicated 'right-hand man' after James Fowles exited to lead Williams, and there was talk of D'Ambrosio as Wolff's long-term successor.

Instead, he is leaving the team after just one season, and after initially rumored to be joining Ferrari as the new head of the driver academy, he is in fact taking on that role and his deputy alongside Vasseur.

D'Ambrosio has competed in 20 Grands Prix, racing for the Virgin team in 2011, then making one appearance for Team Lotus as the banned Romain Grosjean at the 2012 Italian Grand Prix during two years as a reserve for the team.

He then moved to Formula E in its inaugural season, winning three races during a six-year drive in the series and finishing in the top five in the championship with the Dragon team in FE's first two seasons.

Race says

Scott Mitchell Malm

Both appointments are merely confirmation of something that has been known in the ring for several months, but that doesn't make the moves any less significant.

In Serra, Ferrari has secured a highly respected figure from Mercedes that Lewis Hamilton thinks well of – the signing of the Ferrari star for 2025.

But do not confuse this with the fact that Hamilton's arrival somehow affected Serra. Ferrari were first linked with the former Mercedes performance director almost a year ago, so it has been a long time coming. So, if anything was a factor, it would be Serra's impending exit that pushed Hamilton towards leaving Mercedes.

As for D'Ambrosio, he will leave Mercedes after a short and somewhat confusing role. Apparently drafted as a “right-handed” replacement for Foles, D'Ambrosio had no public-facing position. So the viewing world was just looking at him as someone standing next to Wolf in the garage.

Undoubtedly, he should have done more than that, but his attitude always seemed a bit ambiguous. At Ferrari it seems there will be a clearer goal.

There has been a void in Vasseur's support over the past few months, since Mikis left as RB team principal, and the Ferrari Driver Academy needs more focus than Joc Clair, Ferrari's chief engineer and driver coach of Charles Leclerc, can provide.

These are important positions for D'Ambrosio to adopt. If he can make a real contribution on the sporting side, and Serra has the kind of technical influence he is credited with at Mercedes, then these will be two strong additions to Ferrari's Vasseur squad.



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