The Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team has taken a big hit as one of their most senior technical figures has resigned, with a move to a rival team on the grid already reported in the Italian press.

A highly-regarded member of the team, David Sanchez resigned from his position as Head of Vehicle Concept and Head of Operations of the aerodynamic sector, which made him the mastermind of last year’s faulty F1-75 as well as the current season’s slightly too slow SF-23.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was informed of Sanchez’s decision to resign during pre-season testing in Bahrain and was left “visibly dissatisfied,” claimed Sky Sports Italia.

Sanchez has been at Ferrari for a decade, joining as chief aerodynamicist from McLaren in 2012. It now appears that Sanchez will most likely return to McLaren, but not before undertaking a significant amount of gardening leave.

However, gardening leave or not, the news and its timing is less than ideal for Ferrari. The Maranello-based team is in need of a new senior technical team member at the beginning of the season, when there is a need for assurance in its development of the F1-23.

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur said last weekend he is “completely convinced” the car can challenge Red Bull as it was quite close in qualifying in Bahrain but any potential threat to the direction of development could throw the spanner in the works, for a lack of better words.

Featured image: David Sanchez and Charles Leclerc talking during Bahrain pre-season testing