Wolff: Binotto held on longer than I expected under “tremendous pressure” at Ferrari

2022 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto did well to last for four years as team principal at Ferrari, says Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.

Speaking to the official Formula 1 website, Wolff said that following his earlier clashes with Binotto their relationship improved, prior to his resignation as Ferrari’s team principal.

“I think Mattia and I had our moments, it’s no secret, over these many years,” Wolff said. “But in a way, we consolidated that in 2022. We were in a much, much better place.

“But it was always clear that he was under tremendous pressure. Being a team principal at Ferrari, you better have a good contract for your exit. Now probably the unavoidable happened, but he held onto it longer than I thought.”

Binotto first assumed the position of team principal in January 2019, and Ferrari came second in the constructors’ championship in his first campaign in charge. In 2020 the team suffered its worst season for 40 years, then rebounded to third place in 2021 and second place in 2022, which marked the first time the team had outscored Mercedes over a season since 2012.

Wolff said that there is “absolutely” more pressure in taking on the team principal role at the Italian team than any other F1 constructor.

“You’re representing Ferrari, you’re representing the whole country. And [the media] write you up, they write you down, but with brutality. So certainly team principal of Ferrari is probably [harder] as an Italian even more, because as a foreigner you just don’t read the news, but as an Italian clearly you’re in the firing line.”

No replacement has been announced since Binotto’s resignation just over a week ago. Wolff believes there must be a suitable talent to take his place within Italy, even if it is someone without direct F1 experience.

“It’s very difficult to judge, because what I said before is there must be Italian managerial talent, even in other industries, that have power and intelligence to manage such a team and kind of never someone resurfaced,” he replied. “Which I don’t understand until today.”

To be a F1 team principal, particularly at Ferrari “you need to be politically astute” and “the more you know about the sport, the better it is,” said Wolff.

However he doesn’t believe there is a possibility for Binotto to join Mercedes given the past tensions between the pair.

“I think there was too much porcelain broken between us over the last two years that this would be possible. With the other teams I can’t say but certainly Mattia understands F1 inside out and maybe he finds a role in another team.”

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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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12 comments on “Wolff: Binotto held on longer than I expected under “tremendous pressure” at Ferrari”

  1. What happened between Wolff and Binotto in the last two years? I thought Toto had his hand full with Christian but when exactly did Mattia join the B*fight

    1. I’m guessing the cheat engine investigation, secret agreement and penalty got to Toto, as it did to every non-Ferrari powered team on the grid.

    2. Plus I imagine Ferrari were not particularly pleased with Toto’s political games nd antics, even amounting to tire structural changes in season and similar attempts with wing gate and the flexifloor saga etc.

    3. It was all about the Ferrari fuel flow saga. Toto started to play the moralist, the saint, the angel from heaven… roles constantly reminding Ferrari about values and principles and taking jabs at Binotto without mentioning him by name implying he is a dishonest man.

      Binotto hit back and Ferrari got away with their engine trick with the settlement with the FIA. Many back then rode the Ferrari demonizing wave forgetting that Toto who is always portraying himself as an honest guy is in my opinion a shady character himself second only to Briatore.

      1. Maybe a good explaination but he explicitly mentions “the last two years”. There must have been more going on in 2021/22 because the fuel flow saga was already settled. But I guess it all happened behind the screens. Makes me wonder what happened to F1 if you consider Lauda and Hunt still stayed friends and celebrate the season in 1976

      2. The Briatore Wolff comparison is justified, although I feel Wolff is a much more intelligent man (and therefore way more dangerous)

  2. Were there tensions between Wolff and Binotto? 2019 cannot be part of this really.

    1. @krichelle at the time Binotto was head of the car development (and/or engine, right?) at Ferrari, so I guess it can; also, in the time since then with the new rules, and especially the amended rules this season I’d say that in the (English?) media Horner was louder, but that doesn’t mean that in meetings Binotto wasn’t a big opponent to Wolff.

    2. Ferrari vetoed the possibility of Wolff Joining the FIA

  3. What a world, Horner yesterday and Wolff today, both trying to make themselves feel superior by belittling their peer.

  4. because as a foreigner you just don’t read the news

    It doesn’t matter. Ross Brawn said that the cheers, boos, insults… starts from the moment he lands in the airport ! Not to mention that Ferrari makes a lot of noise in the international media especially the British media. Foreign technicians do feel the constant pressure.

  5. Veiled dig from Wolff.

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