Scuderia Ferrari have made significant progress with their power unit this season, so it was a surprise to many, including those working within Maranello, that Chief Engine Designer Lorenzo Sassi, has been allowed to leave.
Ferrari have refused to comment on the situation, in-line with their lack of information being provided to the media in 2017, but Italian newspaper Il Giornale has indicated that President Sergio Marchionne was behind the departure.
Due to the lack of details being offered up, it is not known whether Sassi has been given another role within the organisation, or has cut all ties with the Italian group completely.
His departure has come at an awkward time however, with Ferrari set to introduce a significant engine upgrade at the British Grand Prix, which takes place in just a weeks time. When asked by motorsport.com what he thought the impact of Sassi’s departure would be, driver Sebastian Vettel, who currently leads the drivers’ championship, gave little away.
“I don’t know what you are referring to. It is better you ask a little bit higher up.”
Ferrari have taken the fight to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team this season, and it is believed the engines are now almost on a par. So, to lose your chief engineer at this point in the season either by choice or necessity, when it is so close at the top, leaves big questions over how such a significant departure will affect their performance going forward, on whether they have a back up plan.