Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2022

Ferrari CEO Vigna “not satisfied with second place” amid rumours over Binotto

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In the round-up: Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna said he wasn’t happy with the team’s performance after they ended the season second in the constructors championship

In brief

Ferrari CEO Vigna “not satisfied with second place”

Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna said he wasn’t happy with the team’s performance after they ended the season second in the constructors championship and Charles Leclerc took second in the drivers’ standings. “I said it after the last quarter, I am not satisfied with second place because second is first of the losers,” Vigna told CNBC on Wednesday.

“We have made some progress. I’m happy with the progress we’ve made. I’m not happy with second place. I think the team has what it takes to improve over time.”

Reports from the Italian media on Friday suggest that Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is preparing to resign from his role in the coming days.

A report by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera suggested that Binotto was set to announce he was resigning from his role as early as yesterday. However, no such announcement was issued.

Martins quickest in final day of F2 test

Victor Martins set the overall fastest time of the Formula 2 post-season test at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi after the third and final day of running.

The ART driver set a 1’35.908 to be the quickest driver across the three day test, with day two pace setter Jack Doohan, Theo Pourchaire and Roy Nissany all within a tenth of a second of Martins. Kush Maini was quickest in the evening session, but was almost a second off Martins’ best.

A three day pre-season test ahead of the 2023 championship will take place in Bahrain, starting on February 14th.

Porsche Supercup to support F1 schedule until 2030

The Porsche Supercup will continue to run on the Formula 1 support bill for the next eight seasons after Porsche and Formula 1 agreed an extension until 2030.

The single-make championship using Gt3-spec Porsche 911s will continue to race alongside Formula 1 at select grands prix over the next eight years. The series will race at eight rounds of next year’s F1 championship, including Imola, Monaco, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza.

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Comment of the day

With rumours swirling over the future of Mattia Binotto at Ferrari, Peter G does not think replacing him as team principal will be the right solution…

I think ditching Binotto would be a mistake as it just puts more pressure on the next guy to get results quickly or also be pushed aside.

The biggest issue with Ferrari post Jean Todt is that nobody has been given time to get a team in place and let everything come together. Not even Todt was able to turn things around immediately, It was a multi year project to get everyone in place and even when they had the team together it still took an extra year or two for that to come together completely which then led to that period of prolonged success.

Mistakes were made this year but you need to be given time to look at those and learn from them. Replacing him will see the rebuilding process start from scratch as the new team principal will no doubt want to bring in a new team of people which will again take time which will again see the impatient Italian media calling for there head after a year or 2 of struggles. It’s the same pre/post Todt process repeating because nobody is given time in that role.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Carlos Santos, Nick and Andy Alexander!

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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33 comments on “Ferrari CEO Vigna “not satisfied with second place” amid rumours over Binotto”

  1. Many people are responsible for the problems at Ferrari. Whilst Binotto has to take a chunk of the blame, it will take many more changes to bring them to the standard they should be.

    1. I think letting Binotto resign would be a massive mistake. While it might not be ideal and there’s been some very obvious mishaps occurring this season; getting rid of Binotto would only make Ferrari maker in their talent pool. Let’s look back in the last 10 seasons of how many managers has Ferrari gone through and have they got any better?

      So far, the best has been with Binotto and he has technical skills. Who else would be better and available?

      1. As a spectator it looks to me that Ferrari is on the correct path and the progress is very good compared to any other team. It is unrealistic to believe that they were an actual title contender this year, but they showed very positive signs that they can build a competitive car and perhaps the rest of the ingredients they left on the table will just click in time when Charles is ready for a real title fight.

        Therefore from my point of view Binotto has exceeded the expectations, provided he has set the path for sustainable development for the next 2-3 years. A replacement of his carries out more risk for yet another reset rather than development acceleration.

        It was similar with Jean Todt in the 90s. It took quite some time for them to win the WCC/WDC while they transitioned from just a famous team, to a pseudo contender, to an actual contender, and finally to the strongest winner. It simply takes times. A great difference was also made by a driver and professional like Michael Schumacher and the potential for very significant spendings – assets that are not in anyones disposal today in the paddock. So if the analogy is correct, this year perhaps we saw an equivalent of their 1996 season. I doubt we’d have seen their domination in the 2000s, if there had been quick to introduce leadership changes back then.

        Of course, all of this is quite uneducated speculation of mine as this inside might and probably look quite different.

      2. I wholeheartedly agree – to replace Binotti would be a huge mistake!
        He is a technical genius. He is in a new position and needs time to learn.
        But as Alonso says “it’s Ferarri and they do strange things.”
        They will regret it big time if they go through with it.
        And watch him get snatched up by Mercedes or another team in a heartbeat if they do!

      3. @redpill

        The best was probably when they were with Domenicali, where they at least came close in 2010 and 2012. They didn’t produce the best car, but the team was super efficient with strategy, on track operations and driver roles.

        The second time they were really competitive was in 2017 and 2018. Again, the team wasn’t perfect, but they honestly lost those championships more because of Vettel’s poor performances, instead of the teams’ mess ups.

        Since Binotto has been in charge, they’ve only been competitive in 2019 (with a massive cheat engine) and and for one half of 2022. Ferrari’s performances were so poor in 2020 and 2021, that it was appalling. Only the 2014 season was as bad for Ferrari, where they completely messed up the 2014 regulation changes.

        Binotto’s track record in charge of Ferrari is quite poor. I’d be surprised if they went on for one more season with him as team principal.

    2. Yeah.. but these are changes that the Team principal should have implemented. This is Binotto’s 4th season in charge of the team, he should have sorted strategy, track operations and driver role issues over 3 seasons. The only thing he seems to have fixed in 2022, are the cars technical and design capabilities. He spent two years recovering from a cheat engine he created, which means he had two seasons to put everything together for 2022, and he failed miserably.

      You can’t blame the entire Ferrari system, when the blame lies primarily with their team leader and principal. He must be a liked figure within the Ferrari team, but that doesn’t make him good at his job.

      I don’t think they should remove him from Ferrari, but he should be fired as team principal and moved back to a technical or Engineering lead role. There are some engineers who are incredibly capable of making sure a great car is built in the factory, but they are completely clueless of how to manage a team once the car hits the track. Binotto is exactly that kind of engineer.

  2. Albon, “what am I supposed to do with this?”

  3. Doing better than the duds at McLaren

  4. Vettel has his arm around Ferrari’s problem.

  5. Regarding the F1 tweet: Nicely done & largely accurate, although Mick’s writing hand is wrong. This is the only error.

    I agree with the COTD that merely changing TP would be insufficient for the factors stated + Binotto hasn’t necessarily been the problem, but a different department, i.e., strategy/race management.

    1. @jerejj You often surprise me with the things you know. But I think knowing what hand a former Haas driver uses to write with is setting the bar incredibly high. You really should enter a quiz show where you can pick F1 as a topic with the amount of stuff you know.

      1. @bernasaurus I know which hand anyone uses for writing simply by seeing images from occasions (such as autograph signing) where people use pens, so nothing special.
        Otherwise, I know about stuff others probably don’t or less so, such as DRS indication lights & activation methods for different drivers & teams, or how the sky in Middle East locations looks post-sunset, etc.
        I’ve paid close attention to these since 2013 & ’16, respectively.
        Nerdism, yes, but different from others.
        For example, on the last race weekend, I found out that Sainz cares about equally trivial matters such as hotel-track distance, paddock hospitality-garage distance, & nearest golf course, among others.
        The source for this info is what he said in an interview with my residence location’s F1 coverage provider (Viaplay/V Sport).

        1. I forgot to include steering wheel display outlooks for different teams.

        2. @jerejj Ha! That really is impressive. I guess we all have things we ‘geek out about’. But it sounds like you’re naturally a very observant / perceptive person. I have to explain to people that if they bump into me in the street and my headphones are in I’ll walk right past even if they shout and wave.

          When I die I like to think nobody will say it was a ‘life lived to the full’, most of it thus far has been spent with my own thoughts punctuated by nearly getting run over.

          But I hope you understand I’m very impressed – if Racefans ever do a quiz, I’d never bother taking you on. I’d just shake your hand with my left knee and call it the smallest victory in the F1 history. :-)

          1. @bernasaurus I’m indeed generally observant, perceptive + attentive to details, & spot-on the rest too.

  6. If Binotto is ousted at Ferrari, I believe that McLaren or Williams should hire him as their technical director. He would be a serious asset to any team.

    1. @spafrancorchamps
      Totally agree with you. As a technical director and not a team principle. I’m not against technical guys, as Brawn and many others have demonstrated. A technical guy can be a brilliant manager but the two roles requires different skills set and Binotto doesn’t have the skills (or unwilling to transform) to do the team principle job in my opinion.

  7. Re COTD : I don’t agree on the fact that no one after Jean Todt has been given enough time to build a winning F1 team.

    Stefano Domenicali took over the role of team principle at the end of 2007. He inherited a very solid team though he managed to lose the driver’s title in 2008 with Massa. Didn’t protest or even raise concerns with regard to the 2008 Singapore GP. He didn’t fight or even prepare the team with regard to the F1 testing ban implemented in 2009 which was Ferrari’s main advantage over their rivals.

    Teams like Mclaren then RBR (thanks to Newey who brought the idea when he joined the team from Mclaren) have been investing in advanced simulations as early as 2005 and 2006 respectively. Ferrari built their first simulator in 2009.

    In 2009 Ferrari didn’t capitalize on the new regulations change and the championship was decided by whoever capitalized on the double diffuser trick. Ferrari couldn’t fight the FIA to get the ruling in their favour and Max Mosley decided to rule against Ferrari and Mclaren in particular because they were the driving forces behind FOTA.

    In 2010 Ferrari started with a good car but not as fast as the RBR and the Mclaren. Though Ferrari panicked and decided to throw everything they have to develop the F-Duct which was introduced in Barcelona then removed and reintroduced in Turkey when Ferrari finally realized that the performance differentiator was the exhaust blown diffuser and not the F-Duct.

    Ferrari returned to competitivity once they introduced the Red Bull style exhausts in Valencia which saw them on the receiving end of Charlie Whiting decisions. Lots of mistakes were made and the decision to stop developing the car after Silverstone was taken but Fernando Alonso lobbied Montezemolo and convinced him to overturn that decision and he managed to get the team around and build a championship challenge that stopped in Abu Dhabi with a strategic suicide.

    In 2011, Ferrari went conservative with a car that couldn’t get the harder compound work because they didn’t design the car around the exhaust blown diffuser like RBR and McLaren and Costa was scapegoated. Ferrari managed to win a race when the FIA clamped down on the off throttle blowing in Silverstone though the lack of political power and lobbying from rival teams overturned that decision.

    In 2012 German GP, RBR were caught running illegal engine mappings according to the FIA themselves. Ferrari didn’t protest and the FIA issued a technical directive starting from the Hungarian GP outlawing what Red Bull and Renault were doing. RBR also have been running many questionable device during the V8 era like the flexi wings for which they were excluded in the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP but Ferrari never protested them and instead tried to copy them and failed.

    In 2013, a mid-season rule change with regard to the tyre construction killed every hope Ferrari and Alonso had to fight for the championship. Finally signing the 2014 hybrid formula was the stroke the broke the camel’s back and Ferrari still suffer from that disaster to this day.

    In a nutshell, Domenicali was a big failure as a team principle and he only lacked into that position because he was Montezemolo favourite. Brawn or Briatore should have been appointed to replace Todt.

    Mattiacci was brought as a “traghettatore” from outside F1 to run the team till Ferrari find a team principle. At the end of 2014 Arrivabene was appointed as a team principle though he was a sort of a camera inside the team for Marchionne (RIP) who performed a thorough restructure for the entire Gestione Sportiva. Ferrari improved a lot in that period but still couldn’t have a car as fast as the Mercedes till 2017-2018.

    Arrivabene wasn’t replaced because of results but because he entered in conflicts with most of the heads of department and especially with Binotto who had some talks with Mercedes and made it clear that it will be either him or Arrivabene. With Binotto in charge, Ferrari lost even more ground politically speaking and also in terms of racing operations (strategy, pitstops…).

    The fuel flow saga was a hard meal to digest for the shareholders and Binotto was the head of Ferrari PU department and the team’s technical director and certainly knew what was going on with their PU. Ferrari paid the price for that with their worst season in F1 in 40 years and 2 seasons without wins.

    In 2022, with all the stratospheric investments, the right driver to mount a title challenge and the fastest all around car in the first part of the season. Binotto was saying that the team isn’t ready for challenging for the championship and kept defending the team’s shenanigans and was in denial mode. The TD039 especially with the anti-porpoising stipulation that was orchestrated by Mercedes killed every hope the team had to challenge for the championsip.

    Domenicali, Arrivabene and Binotto were given enough time but they didn’t made the necessary impact to transform Ferrari into a championship winning team. Todt was given enough time that is correct but he had a monumental task of restructuring the entire racing team that included shutting down the Ferrari design office in Guildford. With Jean Todt the improvements were gradually made year after year till 1997 when Ferrari started to challenge seriously for the championship.

    Besides, Ferrari is big boys school. Formula 1 most iconic team with all that comes with in terms of benefits (salary, connections, CV,…). If a manager cannot have an immediate impact on the team’s performance, then he should not be hired.

    My reference is Ross Brawn, the moment he was hired Ferrari improved in all the departments he was overseeing. The quality control and reliability for example : The percentage of both Ferrari finishing the race before he joined was 25%, 6 months later it jumped to 96%.

  8. Big disagree with the COTD.

    Since Jean Todt left his post as team principal, there have effectively only been three team principals at Ferrari in a decade and a half; Domenicali from 2008 through 2014 (7 seasons), then Arrivabene from 2015 through 2018 (4 seasons), and Binotto since 2019 (4 seasons). Mattiacci was an interim leader, and his story is a bit of a weird one tied up with the whole Alonso-Vettel switch.

    Binotto has already had four long seasons to prove himself, but three of those seasons were bad to awful, and the most recent one was okay but still not competitive for the big prizes.

    There is also no evidence that stability is the key to success. Most teams have a lot of stability and no success. Red Bull is often cited as being an example of keeping the same big names paying off, but that didn’t stop them from spending nearly a decade being irrelevant, and only picking up a handful of wins from 2014 through to 2020. The obvious thing that changed was Honda building a fantastic engine, and regulation changes that directly favoured Red Bull’s car concept.

  9. I always find it hilarious that every other team just tells the driver what to do and when to do it.
    Whereas at Ferrari is always “what do you think about going plan B?” and the driver makes the call.

    At least it’s entertaining.

    1. I think they realised they’ve been exposed strategy wise and give more imput to the driver, I kinda like that, there’s drivers who would’ve won more titles (in close calls) had they made a different strategic decision.

  10. Ferrari just needs to get a grip on their strategy calls. They’ve been woeful. When you choose to do something that even armchair fans like myself can immediately see is the wrong call then you should know you’re doing it wrong. Binotto has doubled down every time and tried to excuse these bad calls but I don’t think he should go. He does need to be proactive in fixing that one glaring issue however because his drivers, especially Charles are getting quite vocal, and understandably so. Charles has looked so deflated so many times if there was a good seat somewhere available I think he’d be leaving as soon as he could.

  11. I hope that mr. Vagina will keep Mattia because of his engineering skills. It would be a great loss for SF if he doesn’t continue with the team at least as technical director.

    1. Sorry, because of typo I meant mr. Vigna.

      1. That’s a bit too many mistakes to believe it as a typo, unless some autocorrect stuff maybe.

    2. Boomerang,
      Binotto made it clear back in 2018 that it will be him or Arrivabene. Elkann sacrificed his men – that he placed later at Juventus (another family toy) to control costs – to keep Mattia within the team. Binotto is indeed a brilliant engineer that was in charge of the entire Gestione Sportiva.

      It’s a big loss and I will not be surprised that other teams and the FIA are seriously considering him for a technical position. Though he has been a terrible team principle. A team principle and a technical director requires different skill set and he should have understood that.

      1. Absolutely in regards to binotto being a terrible tp, ofc replacing people continually doesn’t create stability, but he very often doesn’t even admit a mistake was made when a race is lost on strategy: mercedes made strategy mistakes too recently, that possibly cost them a win or more, but admitted that and are presumably going to do it differently next time; binotto shifting the blame on other factors when it’s clear to see isn’t promising.

    3. That’s not going to happen, as @tifoso1989 pointed out it was Binotto’s ambition to take full control that caused the rift at Ferrari in 2018, and which caused the then new leadership to back Binotto. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working out very well for the team.

      1. MichaelN,
        Absolutely. An announcement hasn’t been made not because Ferrari are trying to convince Binotto to stay but because someone like him who spent 27 years in the company and was overseeing the entire Gestione Sportiva knows a lot about Ferrari’s current and future motorsport projects. They are just finalizing the details of a smooth exit. Binotto’s contract within the team expires at the end of 2023. Ferrari may offer him a paid sabbatical.

  12. Thank goodness for Benedetto Vigna.

    This is what Ferrari need.
    Empathetic leadership from F1 experts instead of cliched aphorisms from parasites who get paid to boast about how important they are at Ferrari…
    … …. (who the F### is Benedetto Vigna?)

    1. @nullapax Vigna is an accomplished engineer, though his time at Ferrari has been relatively short up till now.

  13. I’m not a Ferrari fan so it makes little difference to me what they choose to do but here’s some observations and thoughts from this year.

    1. A decision was made, likely at the highest level to focus all their engine development towards power and gamble on reliability. This decision has literally blown up in their faces and cost them probably 75+ points.
    2. The team chose to pursue a development path with their floor that clearly didn’t hold to the regulations which when inevitably found out cost them pace and money to revert. It was clear that the trick if found would be closed immediately as it only required a small change to the scrutineering tests to prove its illegality. The fact they were allowed to run it for many races after discovery was frankly cheating by the FIA. That decision should have and almost did cost them second in the WCC given their drop in pace.
    3. Ferrari made numerous catastrophic strategy choices across the year that cost them again, many points. What is most damning though is on none of those occasions would the team accept fault. You can’t fix mistakes if you refuse to admit them.

    On the flip side, they were closer to the front than they’d been for 3 years but overall they really did fail miserably at maximising their opportunities. For Mercedes to end the year so close after they started the year with a car over a second per lap slower really shows how bad they were imo.

    As others have alluded, changing Binotto and the top team will likely not fix stuff but if the new guy at least recognises the issues and seeks to rectify them, then how could they be worse in the long term. If Binotto is to stay, I’d want some strong indication he was aware of every failing and what they were doing to resolve it. I think he’s earned one more year with the early season pace this year but anything less than a season long WDC battle next year and he’ll be gone.

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