Toto Wolff makes Fred Vasseur weight observation as Ferrari chief left flummoxed | F1 | Sport

Toto Wolff suggested that Fred Vasseur had ‘lost weight’ ahead of his first season as Ferrari team principal during a pre-season conversation, as revealed by the latest season of Netflix’s Drive to Survive show. The pair have one of the closest relationships among the current crop of F1 bosses.

Vasseur was appointed as Ferrari boss ahead of the 2023 campaign, taking over from Mattia Binotto after the 54-year-old failed to capitalise on the impressive performance of the Italian constructor’s 2022 challenger. The Frenchman arrived from Sauber looking to close a sizeable deficit to reigning champions Red Bull.

Chatting in the Sakhir International Circuit paddock before the start of the 2023 season, Wolff said in French: “I saw your tummy is getting smaller and smaller.” This comment took Vasseur back, and he responded: “What?”

Wolff doubled down on his comment, following up by saying: “Your tummy is getting less and less, isn’t it?” Vasseur, still not ready to accept the compliment, replied: “Really, you think?” The Mercedes boss confirmed as such, stating: “Yes, I can see it.”

Suggesting that his outfit could be influencing his appearance, Vasseur gestured to his polo shirt and questioned: “Maybe it’s the red?” His rival denied this, however, replying: “No, it’s slim fit here. You know how they do it, like that?”

After sharing some laughs, Vasseur headed off to the Ferrari section of the paddock, but not before foreshadowing the conversation’s feature on the Drive to Survive show. He joked to Wolff: “You shouldn’t have done that! That will be on Netflix!”

While Wolff and Vasseur share an extremely close bond as friends, some in the paddock have speculated that the recent news of Lewis Hamilton’s switch from Mercedes to Ferrari may have soured relations between the two team principals.

One such sceptic was Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who suggested to that the Hamilton transfer saga could “strain” the relationship between Wolff and Vasseur. These comments were batted off by the Mercedes boss, however.

“I have great respect for Fred, not only as a racing manager but also as a long-time friend,” Wolff explained. “But when he took the role in Ferrari, it was clear that he needs to do the best he can for Ferrari and use every opportunity in order to do that.

“So, there is no bad feeling towards Fred trying to get the best employees, the best drivers. So that has no effect on the relationship. It is a tough competition. It is a cut-throat environment. And as much as I try to do the best for our group, he will do that for Ferrari.”

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