Ferrari dismiss “speculation” over Binotto’s future in charge of team

2022 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Ferrari have rejected reports Mattia Binotto’s future as team principal is in doubt following articles claiming he is to be replaced.

“In relation to speculation in certain media regarding Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto’s position, Ferrari states that these rumours are totally without foundation,” it said in a statement.

The statement followed a report by Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport which tipped Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur to take over in place of Binotto. It claimed Vasseur had been approached by Ferrari CEO John Elkann last year.

Binotto replaced Maurizio Arrivabene as Ferrari team principal in January 2019. The 53-year-old has been with Ferrari since 1995 and occupied the role of technical director before taking charge of the team.

Ferrari scored three wins in their first season under Binotto, as well as nine pole positions. However the FIA began an investigation into the design of their power unit which resulted in a private settlement being reached at the beginning of 2020.

The team slumped badly that year, its straight-line speed performance notably poorer. It finished the year sixth in the constructors championship, its worst performance for 40 years.

But Ferrari bounced back impressively in 2021, rising to third in the standings. It also ploughed its development resources into the new 2022 technical regulations from an early stage and was rewarded with two wins from the first three races of this season.

However a combination of reliability problems, questionable race strategies and driver errors cost them the lead in the championship, while Charles Leclerc was overhauled in the drivers’ standings by Max Verstappen.

There will be no championship silverware for the team this year, and heading into the final race of the season they are at risk of losing second place in the standings to Mercedes.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 F1 season

Browse all 2022 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

26 comments on “Ferrari dismiss “speculation” over Binotto’s future in charge of team”

  1. The man that brought you totally secret, please don’t mention them again, illegal PUs, probably used in competition across several seasons.

    Other than that, it’s the team, up and down the roster, that’s the clown show here. Putting in new heads at the top has been tried and failed, repeatedly.

    1. There is definitely room for improvement across the board.

      But the problem with Binotto has always been that a leopard cannot change its spots. Once a technical director gets into the business of being too clever for the rules, that usually doesn’t stop as the potential benefit is so great. Ferrari can claim they weren’t hurt by the successful Mercedes lobby for new floor tests, but the change in the order has been pretty obvious.

      Ferrari needs a fast car without shenanigans, without clever tricks, and without being one political play away from seeing their hard work undone. Especially because Ferrari itself tends to be rather bad at playing politics.

      1. MichaelN,
        As I have explained in this thread , Ferrari were caught by the second stipulation of the TD039, the anti-porpoising measure that forced them to run the car at a higher ride height – after being already caught with plank-wear related measure – which made their novel sidepods design obsolete.

        1. @tifoso1989 It’s a great post, and it’s good to see all the steps combined into one summary. While Mercedes attempts to get the FIA to change tests, and effectively the rules, mid-season are hardly worthy of praise, one at least has to admit they were very successful at getting the FIA to dance to their tune.

          Ferrari’s failure was thus threefold. First, they made a design that was vulnerable to rule-changes in the one area that has always been an issue with cars heavily reliant on floor-generated downforce. This risk was perhaps excusable, if they hadn’t also failed to mount a comprehensive counter-campaign against Mercedes’ meddling. Ferrari’s track record on politics is even worse than on race wins. Ever since Todt left they’ve pretty much been walked all over. Thirdly, they failed to adapt to the new tests/rules. Part of that has to be that the core concept of the car couldn’t be fundamentally changed, but Ferrari has also brought relatively few ‘upgrades’. Various teams have completely changed their sidepod designs, for example. That Ferrari now claims there is no budget makes one wonder what they did spend it on. Let’s hope it’s the 2023 car.

          1. Spot on !

            I think the disaster Ferrari made and they are still suffering from is appointing Domenicali who was Montezemolo protegee as a team principle. They should have gave Brawn who built the current Mercedes team that role, that’s one of the reasons he quit, or someone like Briatore and this is in 2008.

            Jean Todt have done everything possible to preserve his image and integrity at the expense of Ferrari when he took presidency of the FIA. He didn’t forget how he was sacked by Marchionne (RIP) for always overspending in the days of unlimited budget.

            Ferrari were countless times denied legitimate requests by the FIA so no one will question Jean Todt’s integrity. He even admitted on an interview after he quit, that he personally insisted that Ferrari was punished with regard to the fuel flow saga after the FIA were going to close the matter for lack of evidence.

            With regard to the fewer upgrades than rivals, I have to agree with you on that. RBR were developing their car at a higher rate at the start of the year while Mercedes peaked towards the end of the year and brought their final upgrade package in Austin.

            Ferrari major upgrades this year (Spain, Baku, Silverstone) were carefully planned and introduced after being validated in filming days in both Imola and Monza. Their final upgrades came in Japan. At the start of the year, Binotto already questioned that RBR have to stop bringing upgrades or will run out of budget.

            RBR didn’t stop bringing upgrades and we know the current state of their accounting with regard to the 2021 season. I expect them to be consistent in 2022 unless they have made massive spending cuts the moment they knew they are in strong position to win both championships. Binotto called for an immediate check on the 2022 teams’ accountings.

            Helmut Marko has stated that 6 teams have already breached the cap this year and Binotto responded that Ferrari are not concerned and hinted at Mercedes by saying that it may be the case since there some are still bringing upgrades.

            Toto has already know that RBR and AM have breached the cap. He later admitted that it was an open secret. He also knew, and I suppose through his former personal legal advisor that he managed to place in the FIA in charge of the sport, that both RBR and AM will get away with it so he may have given his team to bring more upgrades to unlock more potential and prepare for next season without worrying about the cap.

            I watched a documentary about Jean Todt straightaway after the Brazilian GP in the French channel Canal+ that summarizes his entire career. They were with him last year Abu Dhabi GP that he didn’t attend and watched from his home. After the GP has ended, Toto Wolff called him and he was furious in the telephone.

            Jean Todt said that he hasn’t attended the GP and doesn’t have all the elements so he can respond Toto about what happened. Jean Todt has been known to never interfere with race officials doing their job. Toto certainly know that and he still called someone like Todt directly complaining about what happened shows the amount of power and lobbying he can apply to the FIA.

            As for the 2023 car, the rumours suggest that Ferrari are going bold again…

  2. I don’t see how Binotto could possibly have a future at Ferrari after this year. Like, after the engine shenanigans we weren’t allowed to know about, the two years of complete dreadful performance after that with the promise of a stellar 2022 car, we now have this year of complete mismanagement of pretty much all factors culminating in ending the season as the clear 3rd best team… I just don’t see how Binotto keeps his position. Give Vasseur a shot, why not? Last time a Frenchman ran the team didn’t turn out too badly, after all.

    1. While I’m also unimpressed by his management, this last race red bull was as weak as ferrari performance wise.

  3. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    15th November 2022, 15:45

    I think it’s all but guaranteed that Binotto with be “moved sideways” in the team this winter. To say otherwise assumes a pretty high level of gullibility.

    Would love to see Ferrari improve massively next season, but since the late 2000’s they’ve continued to disappoint.

    1. And that would make sense. He’s an engineer, but he clearly isn’t a track operations manager type. Heck, he clearly doesn’t like being at the track. I could see how, as a big brained engineer, being at the track would be boring. He skipped many races last year.

      I don’t think it would be a slap in the face to make him essentially the TP of all things technical and have someone run the race day side of things. Above all, they need to replace their team strategist.

  4. Interesting if this rumor eventually turns out true, but would Fred have a Gardening Leave?

    1. If his contract ends naturally, and given this is Ferrari who are still somewhat involved with Sauber until 2026, I doubt that’ll be much of an issue.

      1. @sjaakfoo Same sentiment regarding the Ferrari PU aspect.

    2. @jerejj
      There is certainly something true in the rumour. Yesterday, a rumour was spread by Leo Turrini – who always has reliable sources from inside Ferrari – in which he said that Elkann was furious after the Brazilian GP and decided to replace Binotto. The report published by La Gazzetta Dello Sport states that Binotto has been outcasted and Vasseur who is sponsored by Carlos Tavares will start working in January. Ferrari response was dry. They didn’t rubbish the reports but said that the speculation about Binotto’s future are untrue.

      Since Sauber is based in Switzerland, Vasseur shouldn’t be subject to the severe UK like gardening leaves. He will observe a maximum of 3 months of gardening leave. Given the nature of the relationship between Ferrari and Sauber, Vasseur can start working at Ferrari earlier than expected.

  5. Worth noting that Binotto didn’t merely “replace Maurizio Arrivabene as Ferrari team principal”, but that the campaign he waged during 2018 makes it hard to see him accept any sort of limitation of his role to an engineering-only situation. He straight up admitted that it was either him out or Arrivabene out, although he didn’t so much say that he said this internally as an ultimatum prior to being appointed (though one can probably assume that he did). The timing was perhaps a bit ironic considering the 2018 championship was arguably ruined because the technical development of that year’s Ferrari went all wrong and throughout the summer all ‘updates’ only worked to make the car worse.

    As for the article:

    However a combination of reliability problems, questionable race strategies and driver errors cost them the lead in the championship, while Charles Leclerc was overhauled in the drivers’ standings by Max Verstappen.

    Verstappen already took the championship lead in Spain, before most of the high profile problems. Their first six races were: VER: DNF (from 2nd), 1st, DNF (from 2nd), 1st+1st, 1st, 1st and LEC: 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd+6th, 2nd, DNF (from 1st). Leclerc’s error at Imola and the DNF in Spain cost him points, but notably Verstappen still had one more DNF at that point. Only in Australia has Ferrari looked truly superior. The two Red Bull DNFs at the start of the season flattered Ferrari enormously.

    1. The problem is, if Binotto doesn’t want to be a CTO, that’s it for him in F1. No other team is going to take him as a team principal.

    2. Also, Leclerc’s DNF in Spain cost him 32 points relative to Max. Max’s two DNFs in Bahrain and Australia cost him 36. That’s not too dissimilar.

  6. When Ferrari deny something, you can almost guarantee that it’s going to happen.

    1. Not only ferrari, I’ve heard a lot of underperforming drivers say: I’m gonna stay with the team until x year, and then it’s announced they’ll leave within 2 races or something.

  7. Getting rid of Binotto doesn’t fix all the problems there. He is just covering for the rest of the pit wall’s myriad mistakes. There needs to be some pretty sweeping changes there.

  8. Binotto is a convenient scapegoat for angry fans and I thinks it’s unfair to put all their problems on his shoulders. Their strategy person on the other hand really needs to be sent back to Formula 3.

    1. Well Binotto is the ultimate responsible for the people that are in strategy team. Or are you saying the big boss is not responsible for those under him?

      This year strategy persons in Ferrari have no job to be near any car sports and i would even say near any strategy position anywhere.

    2. Yes, binotto needs to go, notice how he also often overdefends strategy when basically everyone can see there’s problems.

    3. And I think he should start treating leclerc like a number 1, since he’s much faster than sainz but he’s the one with all the problems like bad strategy.

  9. IMO, it would be foolish to replace Binotto before the 2023 campaign, as Ferrari are on a clear uptrend. A change in leadership now would be very poorly timed and will cause more disarray in the short term, which Ferrari needs to avoid considering their technical department seems to be performing better every year (keeping aside TD 039, of course).

    Ferrari do need to overhaul their strategy and race control departments, though and maybe Binotto could do with some help for management while being given more responsibility for the technical side as that seems to be a ‘stronger strength’ for him.

  10. Consistently replacing TP’s and the board room has worked badly for the team
    Binotto as a Technical Director is one of the best on the grid and he should stay on in that capacity if the rumours are true
    Team strategy, pitstops and professionalism are what the team need
    Politics will be easy because it’s Ferrari
    Once we start getting involved Toto and Horner will do nothing but whine and moan and eventually retreat and keep quiet
    They’re only talking a lot now because of the massive power vacuum Sir. Marchionne (RIP) left in his passing

Comments are closed.