Formula 1: Binotto and Ferrari, it’s over

Mattia Binotto, the director of the Ferrari team in office since 2019, has tendered his resignation after another disappointing season at the Scuderia.


Mattia Binotto has finally tendered his resignation after another disappointing season with Scuderia, Ferrari's Formula 1 team.
Mattia Binotto has finally tendered his resignation after another disappointing season with Scuderia, Ferrari’s Formula 1 team.
© BEATA ZAWRZEL / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

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LThe press release finally fell: « Ferrari announces that it has accepted the resignation of Mattia Binotto who, on December 31, will leave his position as +Team Principal+ of the team ». The Italian team has not yet named a replacement. The 53-year-old Italian, often criticized this season, is paying for his failure to regain the world title despite a much improved car in 2022. At the head of sports management, Binotto has certainly had his best result this season, 2nd in the championship pilots, with the Monegasque Charles Leclerc, and 2nd of the constructors. But he again failed to bring Ferrari back to the top against Red Bull and Max Verstappen, crowned world champions.

Last pilot title in 2007, constructor in 2008

Confirmed in September by John Elkann, the president of the Ferrari company, Binotto had been given on the departure mid-November by the Gazzetta dello Sport. Friday, other titles of the Italian press had announced it, before the formalization Tuesday. « We want to thank Mattia for his many essential contributions during his 28 years at Ferrari, in particular what he does to enable the team to be competitive again in the season that has just ended, » said Benedetto Vigna. , managing director of the Ferrari group, quoted in the press release. « I leave a united team that has grown, a team that is strong and ready, I am sure, to achieve as much success as possible. I believe that this decision (to leave) is the right one, even if it was difficult to take, » said Binotto. The famous brand with the prancing horse has not won the driver’s title since 2007 with the Finn Kimi Räikkönen, and that of the constructors since 2008, against McLaren.

Calamitous 2020 season

Arrived in 1995 at Ferrari as an engine engineer, Binotto rose through the ranks of the Scuderia until becoming technical director in 2016. In 2019, he replaced Maurizio Arrivabene after two new failures in 2017 and 2018, when Sebastian Vettel had to step down. admit defeat by Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes). Binotto will not have done better, on the contrary: still 2nd among the manufacturers in 2019, behind Mercedes and ahead of Red Bull, Ferrari had its worst year in 2020 since 1980, finishing only 6th in the championship.

Reliability and strategy

The engineer born in Switzerland but of Italian nationality then saved his skin and Ferrari began its renaissance in 2021 (3rd among manufacturers), hoping to return to first place thanks to the new technical regulations in 2022. At the start of 2022, all the lights are green for the Reds, who seem to have the fastest single-seater. Charles Leclerc wins the first Grand Prix in Bahrain, followed by his teammate Carlos Sainz. The Monegasque and the Spaniard finished 2nd and 3rd in Saudi Arabia, then Leclerc won again, in Australia. But the rest will be much more complicated, with only two other victories (Sainz in Great Britain, Leclerc in Austria) in the other 19 races. Despite a dominant single-seater in qualifying (12 pole positions against eight for Red Bull), Ferrari experienced serious setbacks in the race (four victories against 17). At the end of the season in Abu Dhabi, Leclerc targeted « three key elements » to improve for 2023: « reliability », « strategy » and « tire management ».

Leclerc, propelled very early as a Ferrari driver, in 2019, entered the hearts of tifosi thanks to his victory at Monza that season. But his relationship with Binotto withered in 2022, in particular due to the episode of Silverstone: Leclerc led the race before losing to his teammate due to a failed strategy, then had his suspenders pulled up by Binotto, in front of the cameras.

The Vasseur hypothesis

The most successful stable in history with 16 coronations and 242 victories, Ferrari will have to quickly regain stability before the start of the season on March 5 in Bahrain. The name of Binotto’s successor is not yet known: « The process to identify the new + team principal + has started and should be concluded at the beginning of next year », simply indicated Ferrari. One name comes up often, that of Frenchman Frédéric Vasseur, director of the Alfa Romeo team, powered by Ferrari. And very close to Jean Todt, the French boss of the Scuderia when it often won, with Michael Schumacher at the wheel.

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