Mattia Binotto, Ferrari Team Principal, Silverstone, 2022

Leclerc says ‘stability is paying off’ after Ferrari dismiss rumours over Binotto’s future

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says Ferrari is benefitting from stability after it rejected reports claiming team principal Mattia Binotto’s job was at risk.

Ferrari put out a statement on Tuesday describing reports in Italian media that Binotto’s place could be taken by Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur as “rumours” that were “totally without foundation.”

“It’s not great to read these things,” said Leclerc in response to a question from RaceFans yesterday. “So I think it’s good that the team has cleared the air, and hopefully we can focus 100% on this last weekend.”

Some reports suggested Leclerc has grown frustrated with the team following a series of questionable tactical calls. The most recent of these occured at Interlagos last week when the team opted to send him out for the start of Q3 on intermediate tyres while the track was still dry, a decision Binotto admitted was a “mistake.”

But Leclerc said he believes the team’s current set-up will continue to deliver improvements in performance. “I think stability is paying off,” he said. “We’ve been showing in the last few years that we are improving.

“There’s another step that we need to do but we are working on that and I’m sure we’ll achieve that.”

He said he paid no attention to the rumours around Binotto, who has been in charge at Ferrari since 2019, Leclerc’s first season at the team. “There are always rumours around Formula 1, and especially around Ferrari, and this doesn’t change,” he said.

“Obviously, when we are getting to the end of the season, there are always voices around us. But I think as a team, we really need to focus on our job and on track, try to extract all of the things that are happening around the team.”

Leclerc won two of the first three races this season. These were the team’s first victories since 2019, following which it slumped badly in 2020 and began to recover the year after.

“People tend to forget how big of a step we’ve done from last year to this year,” said Leclerc. “There’s definitely another step that we need to do but I am sure that we’ll do it all together, and starting with this race, hopefully to finish on a high this season.

“But apart from that, there’s nothing more to say. I don’t think we should give too much attention to that.”

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Leclerc says ‘stability is paying off’ after Ferrari dismiss rumours over Binotto’s future”

  1. There is no reason why not to win 10 races from now to the end.”

    Very stable and consistent no wins since July. Ferrari fans must love such stability!

    1. It’s a fair comment to make. Ferrari has lost ground to both Red Bull and Mercedes, and also failed to address their main limitations; top speed and tyre management.

      1. The main limitation, in my opinion, is management. Period.

      2. Yes, with the exception of brazil, where they seemed up there with red bull, but I’d say more that red bull was weak there, rather than ferrari strong.

  2. I can’t really see much coming from chopping off Binotto’s head. I actually think he’s one of the better principals, yes he can come across as shy and quiet. Not necessarily qualities you associate with team leaders, but he knows how a car works, he’s intelligent – and presumably knows what he is looking at when in the factory.

    The problems at Ferrari seem to be endemic. Binotto will know that strategy calls have cost them this season (though to be fair every time they called Sainz in in Brazil I couldn’t understand why and yet they walked away with 3rd & 4th). Hitting the cost cap too early and having to cut back on updates etc. But these should be relatively easy problems to solve.

    Their design philosophy seems solid – enough that even on their worst day they’re ahead of McLaren / Alpine etc. I’d be far more inclined to give him a couple more seasons. I can understand Charles’ frustrations when they keep getting the simple stuff wrong. But I don’t think starting afresh with a new team principal is going to eradicate those issues, those there at Ferrari now need to sort that.

    I think the tyre gamble in qualifying looked like a desperate ‘all in’ kind of move that someone does in a casino after losing twenty hands in a row. If Charles was leading the championship and Ferrari strategy calls had been great all season, there’s no way he’d line up in that pit lane on inters. It was a quick way for a strategy team that is rightly questioning itself to try and look like a hero.

    I imagine Netflix producers would love to see Briatore replace him (I know, life ban etc). Then they can have a real soap opera – Toto, Christian & Flavio in the ball pit throwing insults at one another. I might actually watch it for a change.

    1. @bernasaurus
      With regard to Flavio, his lifetime from F1 ban was lifted in 31 December 2012 after A French court overturned the FIA’s decision and awarded him €15,000rather than the €1m he had sought in damages. The FIA later reached a settlement with Flavio to end all legal proceedings against him.

      It doesn’t make sense for Flavio currently a successful entrepreneur who is doing very well in the entertainment business and enjoying life changing girlfriends like he is changing clothes to return to a stressful fulltime job. Besides, he already works with Liberty media as an ambassador for the sport that will leverage his connections to get them sponsors, potential promoters/partners. The first deal he brokered was the MSC Cruises sponsorship.

      Briatore should have been hired straightaway after Jean Todt stepped down from the role of team principle at the end of the 2007 season. Personally, I would have preferred Ross Brawn who left because he wasn’t allowed to replace Todt but Flavio is also a top manager. Those were some of the disasters Montezemolo made that Ferrari still suffer to this day…

      1. @tifoso1989 I had no idea Liberty had him and his ‘Billionaire Life’ company working as ambassadors for F1. I just assumed he was off an a yacht somewhere, occasionally turning up on grids from time to time. Looks like he’s still very busy even in his 70’s. *I’m going to assume his accountants, girlfriends, staff etc are working hard also.

        He is more akin to Bernie than Binotto. I imagine it’d be quite the ‘culture shock’ for those in the team to switch from Mattia to Flavio’s way of doing things. Would be interesting to see though.

        1. @bernasaurus
          Flavio Briatore has actually an office right next to Domenicali’s office when he visits races. He opened up about his new role in a post in his Instagram account and in this interview for Bild.

          He also said that his relationship with Bernie never broke. The two are controversial, have tasted success and have also been convicted (fraud, bribery…). The last affair Bernie and Flavio were involved in is that of the luxurious yacht that was seized by the Italian authorities after it was found that Flavio have not paid around £3m in VAT on the boat between 2006 and 2010.

          The court decided to sell the boat at auction. Briatore originally paid £68.2m for it and it is currently estimated at around £17.5m. Amazingly Bernie Ecclestone couldn’t resist cutting a good deal. He turned out at the auction and bought the yacht for just £6.6m. How he did that ? I have no idea…

    2. Yes, would be nice to have briatore back!

  3. They better be firing Iñaki Rueda if they think Binotto deserves the boot. I mean, he’s been the man behind countless blunders and the biggest source of their problems. But Binotto shares the blame for not doing that himself and taking the “no blame” or “room for failure” model too far.

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