Mattia Binotto, Ferrari Team Principal, Silverstone, 2022

Ferrari chairman backs Binotto but says team are making too many mistakes

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto retains the backing of the manufacturer’s chairman John Elkann but has been told the team need to make fewer mistakes.

After taking an early lead in both championships over the first three races of 2022, Ferrari were quickly caught and overhauled by Red Bull. The Scuderia’s championship hopes now look like a lost cause, Red Bull leading the constructors’ standings by 135 points, while Max Verstappen has a 109-point lead in the drivers’ title fight.

“After the first grand prix, it seemed legitimate to dream,” Elkann told La Gazzetta dello Sport, “but we must remain humble and let the results speak for themselves.”

While he admitted he was “not satisfied” with the team’s season, Elkann made it clear he continues to back Binotto, who was installed as team principal in 2019.

“I believe that trusting Binotto and his team was the right choice and it paid off.” said Elkann. “Thanks to them we are competitive and winning again.”

Although Ferrari have been consistently in the hunt for victories on pace for much of the season, a combination of strategic mistakes, unreliability and driving errors have compromised their championship bid. Elkann stressed he has “trust in and gratitude for the work done by Mattia Binotto and our engineers.”

“But there is no doubt that the work in Maranello, in the pits, on the pit wall and at the wheel needs to mature,” he added. “We must continue to grow.

“This applies to the mechanics, for the engineers, for the drivers, and obviously for all the management, including the team principal. We have seen it on reliability, on driving, on strategy. There are still too many mistakes.”

But Elkann remains confident the team will end its championship drought within the coming seasons.

“We have aimed to be competitive first and foremost,” he said. “If you are not competitive you have no margins, while you can work on reliability.

“This is why I am confident that between now and 2026, Ferrari will return to winning a constructors and drivers world championship. We will succeed before 20 years of fasting, given that our last drivers world championship dates back to 2007 and the constructors championship to 2008.”

He praised the team’s “two great drivers” Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr, calling them “probably the strongest couple in Formula 1.”

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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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16 comments on “Ferrari chairman backs Binotto but says team are making too many mistakes”

  1. Sounds like a football team owner saying the manager still had the confidence of the board they say before they are sacked.

    Interesting how Elkann speaks in the past tense too. “.. was the right choice..” “… work done..” “… aimed to be competitive..”
    Is he saying Mattia’s job is done, have they given uon this year now? So many questions

    1. @marvinthemartian That’s exactly my thinking. The dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ that almost explicitly says ‘no confidence’.

      The past tense thing is really weird (I assume he speaks good English, I’ve never heard him speak), but even if his english isn’t great, constantly using past tense is a very unusual way to struggle with the language.

      It reads like a ‘the board would like to place on record its gratitude to Mr. Binotto, and wish him all the best for the future.’

      Anyway – I don’t think he really needs to get involved publicly and pretty much go against the ‘party line’ that Binotto has, that ‘everything is okay and people don’t understand the facts’.

      I think Elkann should stay out of it – least publicly anyway.

      1. @bernasaurus I expect some of it has to do with it being a listed company and he has to be very careful about what he says so he is not artificially manipulating the confidence of the market or being seen to release information that could affect the share price, which should have been a filing with the relevant commission.

        It’s all very odd and Ferrari’s history is not on Binotto’s side at this point, I mean, Arivabene got sacked for much less ‘failure’ than has been exhibited this season

      2. The past tense thing is really weird (I assume he speaks good English, I’ve never heard him speak), but even if his english isn’t great, constantly using past tense is a very unusual way to struggle with the language.

        Elkann is an Italian-American born in New York City who lived in England as a kid, so his English is pretty solid. He has a bit of an accent, but then again so do people from around the English speaking world all sound a bit different. Elkann is of course his father’s name. His mother’s name will be more familiar to F1 fans: Agnelli.

        Anyway, I suppose it’s easy to read too much into this. He was probably looking back on the season so far, and the preparations for the new regulations, and that all happened in the past. His other comments are more about where he wants the team to be in the next few F1 seasons.

        1. As a Brit, that makes his use of the past tense even more questionable. As a language with only past, present and future tenses, English speakers generally speak as per their thought process. Speaking in the past tense indicates a reflective thought whereas if he was impressed with the work being done, it would have been prefaced in a more present tense framework, ergo, he’s happy with what they’ve done but not happy with what they’re doing. That leads into him trusting in what they’ve done but not what they’re doing so he had, but does not have, confidence in Binotto but does have confidence in Ferrari.

          Reading between the lines does not make good reading for Mattia Binotto. The nuances of English are often based on interpretation of tenses and the often subconscious decision to use past in preference to present tense. Binotto is always referred to in the past tense, Ferrari, without reference to Binotto, is always present tense so one can conclude that Binotto does not appear in the scuderia’s plans.

    2. I agree. The next communication is the exit announcement of Binotto. This can be seen as the last warning imho… unless miraculously they recover the coming 7 races.

  2. What mistakes? They made no mistakes, Binotto said so himself 😀

  3. Well, under his leadership Ferrari produced a car that is truly competitive for the first time in many years. However, under his leadership Ferrari also produced a team that too often squanders the potential of the car on race day.

    So keep him on in charge of car development, but get a new manager in charge of racing.

  4. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    10th September 2022, 10:55

    Well funny enough if Ferrari had an uncompetitive car but did brilliantly on race day they would get a lot more praise then they do now even if they were 3rd or 4th in the construction championship.

    So in fairness the most important objective, be competitive, is achieved and Binotto and the team should get credit and praise for that.
    Let 2022 be a learning year for Ferrari, they are still doing far better than in recent years.

    The bad start for Red Bull and flying start Ferrari made raised expectations far too high, after race 3 loads of people already declared Leclerc and Ferrari champions

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer +1
      Red Bull have years of accumulated title-winning experience, still maintained during the Mercedes-era, and now back in full flow. Ferrari, though, have been problematic even with a good car and drivers over the time span as Alonso can back up.

      1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
        10th September 2022, 18:54

        True but Rd Bull key staff is the same for the last decade with Horner, Newey and Helmut.

        Also not saying Ferrari is doing a great job but they are still ahead of Mercedes so despite all the mistakes they still did a better overall job than Mercedes.

        1. @jelle-van-der-meer Yes, that’s what I meant about RBR. I was backing your comment about Ferrari doing the most important thing and producing a competitive car going into a new phase of Formula 1. Mercedes are paying the cost for a radical design. Had it worked, all the talk now would be about emulating them. How they respond in terms of next year’s design will be the real test.

  5. Ouch. If I were Binotto, I’d be careful of those words. More mistakes, and it’s the trash can the next place for him.

  6. Binotto is the leader. You’d expect him to lead and fix the weaknesses in the team. But it is appearing he is unable to.

  7. Incorrect Elkann!
    Binotto confirmed that these were NOT mistakes 🤫

  8. Under Binotto they’ve produced a competitive car under the new regulations and have two good drivers. The mistakes seem to be part of the recent Ferrari DNA, I really don’t see how ditching Binotto would make them go away. I also think Leclerc bears some responsibility, like Vettel in earlier title challenges, for adding his own unforced errors into the equation. Are they going to sack him too? Obviously not. They need to work through this with both still in the team.

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