Binotto’s exit leaves Montezemolo concerned about situation at Ferrari

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In the round-up: Former Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo admits he is concerned about the direction the team is taking.

In brief

Montezemolo admits concern for Ferrari’s future

Luca di Montezemolo, who oversaw Ferrari’s successes in the seventies and noughties as team principal and later CEO, voiced his concerns over the leadership of the team following the departure of Mattia Binotto from the Scuderia last month.

“I’m sorry about the situation at Ferrari and I’m worried,” Montezemolo told Corriere dello Sport. “In these moments, since I really care about Ferrari, I prefer not to comment other than to note that it seems to me to be a company without a leader.”

Formula E updates 2023 calendar with new race

An updated calendar has been issued for the next Formula E season by the World Motor Sport Council, and brings the schedule down to 16 races as well as adding a new event.

The first change is the May event that had been previously listed as ‘To be announced’ on the calendar is now removed, while the ‘TBA’ for June 24 has been filled by the new Portland E-Prix.

Portland already hosts IndyCar on a permanent track on the northern outskirts of the city, and it has not been confirmed whether FE’s race will take place there or on a new street circuit.

Portland already plays host to IndyCar races
“There is a big, passionate fanbase for professional sports in the city, together with strong ecological credentials which makes Portland a perfect host for the FIA Formula E World Championship,” said FE’s CEO Alberto Longo.

“The USA remains an important market for FE. We are delighted to maintain that critical presence and engage a new audience in the Pacific Northwest region in all-electric motorsport.”

FE raced in Miami and Long Beach in its inaugural season, then since 2017 has held two races in Brooklyn, New York City every year bar the pandemic-hit 2019-20 season. However New York has dropped off the calendar for 2023.

During the WMSC meeting there was also an update to the 2023 F1 calendar, with the confirmation that the Chinese Grand Prix will not be replaced and the season will feature a record 23 events.

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Former Rosberg protege Barnard set for F3 step

Taylor Barnard, a protege of Nico Rosberg’s former karting team, will race in the FIA Formula 3 championship next year.

The teenager has spent the past two years racing in F4, at first with the BWR Motorsports team of former Team Rosberg man Erich Baumgartner and then with the PHM Racing team. This year he won in the United Arab Emirates and ADAC series, finishing second in the points in the latter, and also came eighth in the Italian F4 championship.

He will step up to Formula Regional Middle East next month with PHM, as a preparatory step before then moving up to FIA F3. PHM will announce its FIA F3 line-up at a later date.

McLaren junior Ugochukwu to race for Prema in Italian F4

Ugo Ugochukwu will race in Italian F4 for his second year in car racing, following a successful rookie campaign in British F4.

The McLaren junior won two races and three poles in the British championship with Carlin, then joined Prema for appearances in continental series. He claimed two podiums from two outings in Germany’s ADAC F4 series, then came 10th in Italian F4 with four podium finishes.

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Comment of the day

F1 has announced the venues of its six sprint races for 2023, and said the decision-making for choosing the tracks followed “research to calculate the most suitable tracks for the F1 Sprint format including overtaking opportunities, close racing and high-speed sections”.

Research to calculate the best …

Implies a mathematical decision algorithm.

That would be a very interesting ‘Research Report’ to see, like so many FIA/F1 decisions since 2014.
Martin Elliott

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15 comments on “Binotto’s exit leaves Montezemolo concerned about situation at Ferrari”

  1. I wonder how much the Tifosi and Italian media will pressurise Ferrari until there is a complete overhaul of their F1 team’s management and culture. Surely, whatever they’ve been doing for the last 15 years isn’t working… so, would they go on for another 5 seasons of failure? Another 10 to 15?

    There has to be a point in time where there is no hope for them, so they can start over from ground zero again, and build in the right direction this time. Might take them 5 to 10 years to become a formidable team again… but it’s a heck of a lot better than a couple of more decades of ‘respectable’ failures.

    1. Starting over from ground zero isn’t a recipe for going in the right direction this time.
      You can start from ground zero and go in the wrong one alright
      I understand why they might feel careful about these “ground zero rebuild” ideas, being one of the top teams in F1

      1. Yeah, exactly.
        Apart from that, Ferrari is the representation if Italy.
        I’d suggest there are a lot of Italians who would rather see ‘their’ team as they are now (truly Italian, for good and bad) than winning simply as a result of selling out their Italian-ness and becoming something else entirely.

        Look at Mercedes in F1… Not very German, are they. Not a lot of support in Germany for them, either.

        1. Im sure Mercedes would have more fans back home when they’re winning under any nationality’s management.. than they would have if they were entirely German and finishing in the midfield.

          1. Meanwhile, the German GP died while Mercedes was dominating, due primarily to lack of interest….

      2. @minilemm

        I don’t know man. I feel it’s better to take a risk and start over, and there’s some hope you got the recipe right. If they continue down their current path there is just zero hope. Red Bull and Mercedes make Ferrari look like a GP2 team in terms of operations, management, strategy and in-season car development.

        The fact of the matter is, that Ferrari never recovered from the ban of unlimited in season testing. They were built to succeed in a different environment. That environment doesn’t exist anymore, so they need to look at teams that have dominated over the past 15 years, and build accordingly.

    2. @todfod Isn’t it like their strategy decisions, 2 laps too late for the decision? Reacting rather than anticipating.

      Whichever path they chose, with the budget cap in place, it is now a tough task to do an overhaul of their organization and work culture. It might cause a bigger setback than if they did it 3 years ago. On the flip side, the current system should allow an efficient team to catch back. Which is exactly Ferrari’s main problem to address.

      1. @jeanrien

        I actually believe that if they kept Binotto as team principal for one more season, that’s a decision that is just 2 laps late. They sacked him at the right time, although the smarter option would have been to keep him in a technical role until a new team principal gives a verdict on whether Binotto is more of an asset or a liability.

        On the flip side, the current system should allow an efficient team to catch back. Which is exactly Ferrari’s main problem to address.

        Agree. Unfortunately, Ferrari is the most inefficient team on the grid per dollar spent. Which is why I think there’s just no hope for them.

        1. @todfod There is no ‘Binotto in a technical role’ option; he made that quite clear in 2018 when he made his case to Ferrari’s new leadership (or staged his coup, if you prefer that version). He wanted full control because he felt constrained. How that relates to Ferrari’s 2019 engine ‘miracle’ is anyone’s guess, but after four full seasons it just hasn’t worked out.

          Agree. Unfortunately, Ferrari is the most inefficient team on the grid per dollar spent. Which is why I think there’s just no hope for them.

          Even under the budget cap, Ferrari is 2nd in the constructor’s championship.

          1. Yeah.. There was no demotion for Binotto… Just a straight pink slip. That’s the only downside to the whole saga.

            Regarding efficiency of spend.. You really can’t base your entire judgement on their 2022 result. Since 2009, they’ve probably spent as much as Red bull and Mercedes, but have very little to show for it in terms of WDCs, race wins and event points per dollar spent.

          2. Todfod, generally I also find ferrari inefficient, BUT tbh I was expecting more from fairly efficient teams like ex-force india and such, instead the hierarchy with the budget cap was very clear: the previous top teams are still miles ahead, which for this particular year makes ferrari more efficient than alpine, mclaren and the likes. Let’s see what happens next year for a better judgement.

    3. Seems unnecessary to overhaul the entire team. They were still the 2nd or 3rd best team in F1 throughout almost all of those years.

      In 2008 Ferrari won the Constructor’s title and missed the Driver’s by the tiniest of margins.
      In 2009 Ferrari (and McLaren) were effectively sabotaged by Mosley’s antagonism towards FOTA which determined the outcome of the double-diffuser saga.
      In 2010 Ferrari challenged for the Driver’s title.
      In 2011 Red Bull dominated while – crucially – Ferrari won the only race run under the proper, i.e. limited blown diffuser, rules.
      In 2012 Ferrari challenged for the Driver’s title.
      In 2013 Ferrari challenged for the Driver’s title until the English GP (Vettel 132 vs Alonso 111); but after Pirelli changed the tyres this season became a Red Bull walk over.
      In 2014 Ferrari mistakenly prioritized aerodynamics over the engine. This was a mistake.
      In 2015 Ferrari was back to winning multiple races, though not enough to challenge for the title.
      In 2016 Ferrari did not win any races as Mercedes dominated.
      In 2017 Ferrari challenged for the Driver’s title (with help from Mercedes’ numerous mishaps and mistakes).
      In 2018 Ferrari challenged for the Driver’s title until car development went awry and driver mistakes compounded the downturn in form.
      In 2019 Ferrari won a handful of races but did not challenge for the title.
      In 2020 Ferrari did not win any races and had its worst season since 1980.
      In 2021 Ferrari did not win any races.
      In 2022 Ferrari won a handful of races but did not challenge for the title.

      There’s a pretty obvious connection between these last four years: Binotto was team principal.

      Sometimes online comments are just fun and games, but when the whole F1 fandom has singled out Ferrari’s strategy department as – so goes the meme – a bunch of clowns, then there’s probably something to it. If Ferrari can fix their strategy department and go back to their pre-Binotto ways, they’re already well on their way to being credible competitors.

      1. There’s also a pretty common theme between the 2011, 2013 and 2022 seasons: Ferrari failed to play politics and their campaigns were undone by mid-season rules chances (allowing blown diffusers, changing tyres, and the infamous Mercedes-inspired Technical Directive).

        So aside from fixing their strategy department, Ferrari could benefit from having a political heavyweight in their corner. That doesn’t have to be the team principal, it can be someone who plays just that part of the game.

      2. If you take 2010 and 2012 seasons out of your argument, which were all about Fernando dragging a non-championship winning car to the last race of the season, the rest of the years, there’s a very clear trend of Ferrari just being respectable with a few race wins. If you’re happy with that kind of form.. then I guess that sticking to the current management is the way to go.

  2. The Star article: I’m surprised something that happened 10(+) years ago is still on the table.

    Lawson is rather than ‘was’ expected to make an SF switch, but to my understanding, he’ll indeed compete in SF next year.

    How is Losail necessarily more racing/overtaking-friendly than Jeddah?

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