Ferrari's F1 'superteam' era is close – but is it ready?

Ferrari's F1 'superteam' era is close – but is it ready?



Adrian Newey is widely expected to join Ferrari when he leaves Red Bull next year – and even with his contract yet to be signed, it's hard to ignore the prospect of a new Formula 1 superteam.

Red Bull has dominated the ground effect rules era since 2022, with occasional challenges from Ferrari, McLaren and – less frequently – Mercedes over the past two years and some of the past few years.

But all empires eventually collapse, and with a brand new set of car and engine regulations on the horizon in 2026, plus design legend Newey on his way out next year, it's easy to imagine the circumstances of Red Bull's downfall.

Ferrari is the team Red Bull fears the most, assuming team boss Vasseur remains at the helm of the Italian team's notorious politics. Newey will be a massive addition to a team that has gained significant momentum over the past 12 months.

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Vasseur has been widely supported by Ferrari boss John Elkann since his appointment as Ferrari team boss ahead of the 2023 season, succeeding Mattia Binotto.

Ferrari's off-track momentum combined with clear improvements in performance have dispelled any fears that Vasseur's leadership will be undermined by the behind-the-scenes nonsense that is never far away at Maranello.

Vasseur is credited with making good day-to-day improvements while also fueling bigger-picture strategic decisions that Elkann provides the muscle to implement.

Together they lured Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes in a fantastic driver deal, and got Charles Leclerc to commit to a new long-term deal.

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Signing Newey would be a massive technical coup on top of other moves such as Mercedes performance director Loic Serra, who will join in October.

The result is that the prospect of Hamilton and Leclerc teaming up long-term and driving a Niuey-influenced 2026 Ferrari, which would have seemed downright bizarre not so long ago, now looks like a serious proposition.

It was said in Miami that Hamilton and Leclerc did not even try to hide their happiness at the prospect of Newey moving to Ferrari. In such scenarios, the common response is to not say anything that might fuel speculation. But Hamilton has put Newey “at the top” of his list of people he would like to work with, saying it would be a “privilege”, while Leclerc said adding Newey would be “amazing”.

Adding such firepower is important for Ferrari. This is a team in transition, and although it has yet to transform into the behemoth that surpasses Red Bull, Ferrari looks like it could be on that path – and the prospect is certainly more compelling than it has been in recent memory.

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At the moment, the team could be behind both Red Bull and McLaren, especially within one lap, and this relative weakness in qualifying could be the difference between Ferrari, who are gunning for some wins this season, and struggling to finish second.

One thing to prove this year is that Ferrari can outperform those teams, not just stay with them.

The progress Ferrari has made under Vasseur's leadership as a technical organization has been reasonable. It has shown itself to be more effective with developments over the past twelve months or so than it did in the first year of these rules in 2022, when it started brightly and then faded.

Vasseur has been keen to emphasize the contribution and quality of the existing technical ranks, and has done a good job so far of motivating the wider workforce and making more use of existing staff.

But shaping the top of the team into what he wants is an important step, and it is clear that the ranks need to add more – otherwise Ferrari would not be on a relentless recruitment drive.

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Vasseur says it's not the names, it's the little details that matter. That's true enough, but when you've already got Hamilton and have rumors of trying to sign Newey, obviously big names are part of the equation too.

A “super team” is a great idea on paper but could fall apart very easily.

Vasseur's priority is to provide the foundations to support the arrival of more powerful teams – otherwise Ferrari will be in familiar territory, adding up to less than the sum of its most extravagant individual parts.



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