Leclerc thanks departing Binotto after “four very intense years”

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In the round-up: Charles Leclerc publicly thanked Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto following the announcement he will step down from the team.

In brief

Leclerc thanks departing Binotto

Leclerc thanked Binotto in a post on social media yesterday after Ferrari announced the team principal had offered his resignation.

“Thanks for everything, Mattia,” said Leclerc, who joined Ferrari in 2019, Binotto’s first year in charge of the team.

“We spent four very intense years together, of great satisfaction and also, inevitably, of moments that put us to the test,” he continued.

“My esteem and respect for you have never failed, and we have always worked with all the dedication to achieve the same goals. Good luck for everything.”

Ocon says “it’s good” Alonso is moving on from Alpine

Ocon said he was “overworked” alongside Alonso
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon says he shouldered much more of the workload than his departing team mate this year.

In a recent interview with regional news outlet Ouest France, Esteban Ocon talked about his relationship with team mate Fernando Alonso and their contributions to the team.

The pair spent two seasons together at Alpine but Alonso is moving to Aston Martin for 2023. Alonso outscored his team mate last year, although Ocon picked up the team’s first win and became their higher-scoring driver this season.

Alonso’s time at the team ended with several tricky race weekends. He tangled with Ocon at the Brazilian Grand Prix following which Alonso said he was looking forward to leaving the team.

“Of course, I was disappointed by his comments in the press and not internally,” Ocon said to Ouest France. “We didn’t have any discussions about any of that. I will keep the respect I have for him.

“It’s good that he’s going to Aston Martin and that we’re going our separate ways. Honestly, the work was 98% on my back and 2% on his. I was overworked. I did all the development on the simulator, the marketing trips.”

F2 and F3 announce 2023 pre-season test date

The Formula 1-supporting Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships will get their 2023 track action underway on 14th-16th February next year with three days of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

he track will be the venue of the opening round of both series just over two weeks later, and will mark the first official appearance in both series of the new PHM Racing by Charouz squad, formed by German Formula 4 team PHM Racing buying out the entry and assets of current F2 and F3 squad Charouz Racing System.

Two more drivers join Indy Pro 2000 grid

Pabst Racing has retained Jordan Missig and DEForce Racing have promoted Bijoy Garg full-time to USF Pro 2000 for the 2023 season.

USFP2000, previously known as Indy Pro 2000, sits below Indy Lights on the IndyCar support bill and provides a scholarship to its champion that guarantees them promotion to the next level.

Missig came 11th in USFP2000 this year with a best finish of sixth, having arrived in the series as a Formula Regional Americas race-winner, while Garg contested the final two rounds of this season having stepped up from USF2000 where he had stood on the podium twice in 2022.

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Comment of the day

Mattia Binotto’s resignation from his position as Ferrari’s team principal was confirmed on Tuesday after weeks of speculation, and the arrival of the news actually led to more speculation on the reasons behind his departure and whether it was a personal decision or one pushed by Ferrari following a year of underperformance.

Binotto was both a victim and an enabler of the toxic blame culture at Ferrari.

He was often quite willing to throw his team under the bus when things didn’t go right. It was a learned behaviour from decades of being a company man. That meant that no-one in the team was willing to make bold calls. They knew if they were wrong, they would be blamed. How many times did we hear the engineers asking the driver’s opinions on strategy?

Eventually, the number of indecisive moments piles up so that the only common denominator is the team principal.

The Scuderia works best when outsiders run the show. People that don’t care what the Italian media says. People that will have their team member’s backs and empower them.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Anirudh, Daniel and Mark Stevenson!

On this day in motorsport

  • Born today in 1966: Mika Salo


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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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24 comments on “Leclerc thanks departing Binotto after “four very intense years””

  1. Honestly, the work was 98% on my back and 2% on his. I was overworked. I did all the development on the simulator, the marketing trips.

    Yes, it wasn’t right that you did most of the simulator work and he did hardly any. Did you ask the Team Principal for a reason why Fernando didn’t do his fair share of simulator and marketing work? Maybe his contract exempted him from doing the simulator and the marketing work. If Fernando’s contract says he only has to do such and such on a voluntary basis then he is within his rights to not do such and such. If his contract doesn’t say he is exempted then he would have been fined by the company, and if he’s prepared to pay the fine and not do the work then that’s his business and the Team Principal’s business.

    1. @drycrust Yeah – Esteban can say some odd things at times, and yet come across as affable and kind also. I like to think it’s just context, words can be put in slightly different places and mean completely different things. I can see Prost / Senna say “98% on my back and 2% on his” . But you don’t hear things like that too often on todays grid.

      Maybe he means it in a ‘I need to prove myself – he doesn’t’ sort of way. And then slightly backtracked and tried to justify it with sim / marketing jobs.

      I will keep the respect I have for him” could read like the kind of thing someone says if they’re backing out of a fight in a pub, or a line from GoT, he’s obviously not a native English speaker but he definitely sounds like one in conversation. But we all get misinterpreted.

      I can see Alonso and Esteban being terse to each another and neither backing down. But as you rightly say, this is the teams responsibility. Flying somewhere, waiving hands and passing out caps, who does and doesn’t do what, sim work is not really Fernando’s fault.

      Ask the Alpine management, they maybe just gave him Oscar’s schedule when Freddie Mercury & Alonso weren’t available.

    2. @drycrust

      Honestly, Ocon’s whinge just shows that he spent more time in the simulator and did more of the development work, which means he should have been in stronger form against his 41 year old teammate, and yet he was getting outpaced by him every weekend.

      Not only is Ocon’s attitude and personality rubbish… so is his talent. Probably the dumbest decision made by any team was to give that clown a multi year contract.

      1. Brutal… but I can’t really disagree!

    3. Ocon is a superstar.

  2. Moments that put us to the test […] My esteem and respect for you have never failed

    Anyone else reading between the lines there, or is that just a me thing? Reminds me of a forced corporate apology where he’s being very careful not to say Binotto didn’t fail.

  3. First Piastri gets a stab in the back, now Alonso. They really are a sore bunch at Alpine. I find it very difficult to like them. In all honesty, I don’t think that they will have a great season next year with Gasly and Ocon. They are very good drivers but not championship winning material.

    1. It’s funny how people got (created) this idea that Piastri was treated poorly by Alpine.
      They funded his junior career and aided his progression right up to F1, guaranteed him an F1 drive (when they determined him to be ready) and he repaid them by bailing to a competitor.

      As for Alonso – as good as he is, he doesn’t have a long career ahead of him. It’s fair that Alpine would want to take less risk. A couple of years is a long time in modern F1….

      1. I was not referring to the contract with Piastri, I have no information on that. It is about the communication. There are several quotes that could get the benefit of the doubt, but when you put them together, to me it seems obvious that there is a very sour taste at Alpine about Piastri and Alonso leaving and I don’t find the communications very classy.

        – Last week Szafhauer said: “I’m happy that our driving pairing with Esteban [Ocon] and Pierre is better than it would have been if we had won that case. [Gasly is] more experienced, still young. And time will tell, but I think faster [than Piastri].
        Of course he should talk positive about Gasly, but he could have done it more gracefully without discrediting Piastri. He could have said somethings along the line of ‘both drivers are very talented, but Gasly has the experience on top of that, so I am very happy with Pierre’ and it would have sounded less sour and more convincing.

        – Also last week: ““It feels good to have beaten Alonso because he is a very fast driver,” Ocon reflected”.
        Technically he is correct but on many other metrics he was not better than Alonso, most people will feel

        – This week: ““It’s good that he’s going to Aston Martin and that we’re going our separate ways. Honestly, the work was 98% on my back and 2% on his.”
        I have no idea if Ocon put in more work than Alonso, but this is sour.

        1. Szafnauer the guy that fell for a phishing attack.

      2. To add to my comment above: you can talk very positive about your driver(s) without discrediting the driver that is leaving, like at Aston Martin:

        Krack, who worked with Vettel early in his F1 career before being reunited with him at Aston Martin this season, said there were clear differences and similarities between him and Alonso.

        “[They’re] different, yes, because they have different backgrounds,” said Krack. “One is Latin, one is German. That makes a big difference. “But I mean, what they have in common is the focus, the focus on improving, the focus on making progress. And also isolating what makes us progress instead of maybe just being detailed. So some similarities, but also some differences.”

        Both positive about Alonso and Vettel.

      3. Your Alonso claim. Are you serious?
        Are you Otmar?

        1. Are you serious?
          What if he does a Ricciardo? The payout to get rid of him would be enormous. Alonso’s not exactly a wonderful PR machine when things aren’t going his way, is he?

          Not saying it would happen, but it has before….

      4. It’s funny how people got (created) this idea that Piastri was treated poorly by Alpine.
        They funded his junior career and aided his progression right up to F1, guaranteed him an F1 drive (when they determined him to be ready) and he repaid them by bailing to a competitor.

        Piastri joined the (then Renault) junior program after winning the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup. He repaid them by winning titles in F3 in 2020 and F2 in 2021, after which Alpine put him on hold.

        Being on the backbenches for many years like Russell was may be worth it if you’re lined up to join Mercedes. It becomes a much harder sell if the prospect is Alpine. If Alpine then also signs Ocon, who isn’t generally regarded as all that great, for many years and it becomes clear Alonso also wants to stay on long term – Piastri is looking at an F1 debut in… what; 2025? That’s a really big delay for such a promising young talent.

        1. Being on the backbenches for many years like Russell was may be worth it if you’re lined up to join Mercedes. It becomes a much harder sell if the prospect is Alpine.

          That’s a good point, but it neglects the reality that most decent drivers benefit greatly from proving themselves in ‘backmarkers’ before reaching their full potential in a leading team
          I doubt Alonso would have stayed with Alpine that long anyway – but your comment also doesn’t consider the option of Renault/Alpine buying a seat for Piastri in another car in the meantime.

          If Alpine is a hard sell for a driver, perhaps they should have considered who they signed their junior career over to.
          F3 and F2 are the two most important series a future F1 driver can go through, after all.

          And to be honest, I don’t think he is that much of a huge promising talent. He’s certainly decent, but hasn’t blown anyone away. He’s not clearly ‘better’ than everyone else he competed against, and is far from the most consistent.
          Good luck to him, for sure – he’s going to need it when he’s already burning bridges in the paddock before he gets his first drive and proves anything to anyone in F1.

  4. Great to see racingpride here
    COTD is spot on.

  5. 98 to 2, really?

    1. @jerejj Really not I would say :)

  6. Nice discrepancy between Ocon and Krack on the added value of Alonso.

  7. There is no blame culture at ferrari otherwise heads would have rolled long time ago.

  8. I think LeClerc’s farewell is disingenuous at best. From the pic I’ve seen of the team members, there aren’t many smiling faces.
    During the year, I sided with LeClerc several times and for good reason.
    But it started to occur to me that he was a bit petulant. Asking for his teammate to give up a podium for him? Entitled may be added to that. I feel he could have went to the upper ranks of Ferrari and persuaded them to keep Bonotti for anther year but he has hard feelings.
    I wonder if he understands the leap that Ferrari made this year. Yes Binotti has had 3 years but it takes a lot of time to turn the ship around.
    I believe 2023 could have been one in which they challenged for the title.
    He’s a hell of a driver much like Max.
    But if he thinks things are bad now, he will be wishing Binotti was back.
    Tear it down and start from scratch – again.
    Good luck Charlie.

  9. You have no clue what you are talking about. Allonso is the most dedicated driver on the grid. He is also the smartest driver on the grid, still very fast, and in a race car almost every day of the year. Not even bringing his fitness level into it.That does not go away in a year or two years time. He has at least three years left in him unless he loses this desire which is not gonna happen. Prost says he’s the best all-around driver on the grid – it’s hard to argue he’s not. He will be around longer than Ocon.

    1. That post was meant for S

    2. That’s great that you have that opinion, Dan.

      I, too, think Alonso is one of the best in F1 – but he won’t last forever.
      And if I was in the business of deciding who drove my cars and represented my brand, I would be extremely happy to have Alonso on my books. But I wouldn’t be offering him a 3-year contract at this stage of his career, especially after his public commentary on his previous cars/teams and their performance.

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