“Critical” work on 2022 Ferrari will keep Binotto away from more races

2021 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto will miss two further rounds of this year’s championship to prioritise work on the team’s new car for the 2022 F1 season.

Binotto did not attend last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, leaving sporting director Laurent Mekies to run the team. This had been planned from an early stage in the season, said Binotto, who also missed the Istanbul event last year.

“This was one of the races I was targeting to be back home,” he explained via a videoconference from the team’s base in Maranello. “Obviously the calendar has changed quite a lot since the very start, so I changed also plans, but certainly Turkey was one of these ones.

“I will skip at least another two races before the end of the season. So at the moment, I’m planning Mexico and Brazil. But obviously let’s see.”

The Ferrari team principal has chosen to avoid several of the more distant races in order to remain at the factory during weekdays to oversee work on the successor to the SF21, which will be built to a largely new set of technical regulations.

“The reason is, as you may imagine, especially Mexico and Brazil overseas, it’s a long trip. While here back in Maranello there is a lot to do, really much to do.

“It’s an entire team to manage, both the chassis and power unit and the entire organisation,” said Binotto. “And we are, in term of 2022 development, certainly in a critical phase where time is getting closer and closer.

“So I’m happy to be here. From the way I’m managing the race weekends, certainly on Thursday and Friday being in the office I can certainly be more focussed on whatever is happening back here in Maranello, while Saturday and Sunday is fully dedicated to the race weekend.

“Certainly I’m missing the networks in the paddock but Laurent Mekies can do a great job, and I’m very happy the way he’s managing the entire team when I’m not there.”

Binotto also discovered an added upside to not commuting to Turkey. “I’ve been told that as well the flight to Istanbul was a lot bumpy,” he said, “so I’m very happy to skip it!”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on ““Critical” work on 2022 Ferrari will keep Binotto away from more races”

  1. The same story as last season towards the end.

    1. Yeah, and it seems from the results so far this year, that it was time well spent @jerejj.

  2. This is a good strategy by Ferrari. Reduce dependence on specific names while at the track. Would be good if they keep all the staff rotating.

    1. Strategy has been much improved this year, they would never say directly it is because of his absence, but it could be. Might be as simple as people feeling free to make the best choice and not the one you know the boss will approve. He can’t be so important to the creation of the next car he just can’t take a few days whenever, its not like he is drawing up the parts, running the CNC machines, bolting them on the car, and running simulations all by himself as amusing a picture as that is.

      1. You do know he was the team’s Technical Director before, right? So could there be a chance that he’s knowledgable enough to oversee development of a car like he used to?

  3. There were doubts about Binotto the tech chief doing TP duty, and although I guess the jury is still out, it’s not going bad. Getting rid of the ‘blame culture’ and strong hierarchy has maybe gone too far the other way with little improvment in the strategy dept for example, but the performance has really picked up over the season even if they did have a lot of tokens to spend. I seriously hope next year’s car will be good and Leclerc a contender for the championship, but it’s asking a lot, especially as Mercedes seem to have unlocked a lot of engine performance and there’s a freeze coming.

  4. A sensible decision by Binotto and Ferrari. This is now a crucial period in the development of next year’s car and having Mattia at the factory overseeing all the departments’ progress is very useful.

    In the long term, Binotto should get back in a technical role permanently and Ferrari should appoint somebody else as team principal, someone who understands the commercial side of F1 better.
    Mattia is an engineer, not a manager! Trouble is, nobody (especially no Italian) wants to do that job, because the Italian media will slay you, if there is no immediate success.

    1. I don’t mind if they do sort of a split role that Binotto has done for last 2 years where he is there for 60-70% of the season and then starts preparing for the next season. I feel it helps in long term succession planning and it clearly paid dividends in 2021. (Lets see how 2022 shapes up).

      Agree about your assessment on Binotto. In 2019, the acrimony between Seb and Charles kept rising in the 2nd half of the season – Monza, Singapore, Russia, Brazil – 4 major flashpoints and he couldn’t stop any of them.

      Will be better if someone else takes over the trackside operations at the business end of the season, especially if Sainz and Leclerc are both in with a chance of a WDC.(Hopefully in 2022)

      1. Driver issues is not really a major down point for team managers. Wolff had this with Rosberg and Hamilton and he’s won a lot as TP. Same as Ron Dennis with Senna and Prost ot Frank William’s with Piquet and Mansell. It happens.

  5. All Part of the Plan, Boss.

  6. Guys it’s Ferrari. They’ll find a way to mess up. Maybe the 2022 car development was lagging behind and Binotto has called action stations while other teams are already way ahead.

    1. @wsrgo
      Given it’s Ferrari, you can’t never rule that out, can you?! But seriously, it’s pretty unlikely. They switched development over to the ’22 car very early (they haven’t brought any new aero parts since Imola) and Italian media reported two months ago that Ferrari have started the production of next year’s chassis.

  7. @wsrgo

    Guys it’s Ferrari. They’ll find a way to mess up

    Heh, harsh, but not entirely unjustified comment.

  8. So expecting a Ferrari 1, 2 at the next two races.

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