Mattia Binotto, Ferrari Team Principal, Silverstone, 2022

Ferrari should have replaced Binotto years ago – Arnoux

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In the round-up: Former Ferrari driver Rene Arnoux says the team should have replaced Mattia Binotto as its team principal long ago. The team announced at the end of last month he was standing down after four years in charge.

In brief

Ferrari should have replaced Binotto years ago – Arnoux

Former Ferrari driver Rene Arnoux says the team should have replaced Mattia Binotto as its team principal long ago. The team announced at the end of last month he was standing down after four years in charge.

Ferrari began the 2022 F1 season strongly but slumped as the season went on, missing potential wins due to car failures and errors by their strategists and drivers.

“The mistakes he made for me in Formula 1 are unforgivable,” Arnoux told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve never been on Binotto’s side. Someone who says ‘It will be better next year, it will be better next year’, doesn’t deserve that place.”

Binotto should have been replaced “several years ago”, Arnoux continued, “I’ve said it several times.

“Behaviour like his is intolerable when you’re at the helm of the best team in the world. You may or may not like Jean Todt, but he would never have said: ‘It will be better next year’. He won, and when he won he thought about next year. But there are few Todt and Ron Dennis around.”

Alfa Romeo need “one more step” to challenge teams ahead

Alfa Romeo head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar says that his team are still a step behind their upper-midfield rivals McLaren and Alpine.

The team secured sixth place in the constructors’ championship this season after tying on points with Aston Martin. Asked by RaceFans if he felt the team could have offered more of a challenge to Alpine and McLaren had reliability problems not affected them so much in the early season, Pujolar said “no, I think they’re still a step ahead.

“To be at the level of Alpine or McLaren, we will need one more step,” he continued. “And that’s what we will be working on next year. The areas that we need to improve – the races, starts, lap one and many other areas where you still see some margin – that is where we will be much better prepared for next year.”

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Comment of the day

After RaceFans highlighted twelve of the best single-seater overtakes of 2022, PeterG is left with a sour taste…

It makes me sad that the modern show over sport era with push of a button & other gimmicks has created a situation where you even need to look for ‘real’ overtakes.

An overtake used to be a great overtake but now the gimmicks have taken over and you are having to look harder to find the genuine and actually exciting real overtakes.

A real shame:(

Happy birthday!

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On this day in motorsport

  • Born today in 1942: Guy Edwards, who started 11 F1 races in the seventies and later became a sponsorship consultant for Lotus.


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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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27 comments on “Ferrari should have replaced Binotto years ago – Arnoux”

  1. Coventry Climax
    30th December 2022, 0:25

    I’ll go a step further than Arnoux, and say Binotto should never even have gotten -or accepted, for that matter- the position in the first place. There were doubts at the time already.
    The result however is, that they’ll most likely be on the backfoot for another couple of ‘restructuring’ years – again. Then the next team principle (Vasseur this time) is shown the door, and they’ll start over – again.

    1. Binotto didn’t accept anything. He threatened to resign to get all the power at Ferrari.

    2. He was the TP for 4 years, to fire him several years ago would have been years before he got the job at which he failed. Next Ferrari will have to fire Vasseurs replacement next week before even they know who he is.

  2. Coventry Climax
    30th December 2022, 0:30

    Is that why Hamilton didn’t vote for the F1’s Best Driver poll? Too busy basking in fan-praise?

    1. Or perhaps following the way the Liberty and the FIA treated him following 2021 he has decided he will no longer do anything but the bare minimum he’s contractually obliged to do for the Liberty and the FIA moving forward. Kind of like you know anyone would do if someone treated them like crap at work, you wouldn’t go out of your way to do them a favour. Maybe they should add that to drivers contractual responsibilities if they want them to participate.

      1. Any driver doing more than that (the minimum required) can imho be accused of lack of focus. This is F1, not kindergarten. There are already way too many mediocre drivers we have to watch. F1 would do good to up their game and up the level of contestants.

        1. I see your point and there is a case to be said that perhaps a world where every driver was a bit more Kimi might be better in some respects but by the same token, if you want the sport to grow it needs marketing and your WDC and leading drivers are a key aspect to leverage. It’s easy for Hamilton to step back from extra duties now and there would be little effect as his brand is well established but I can see why some of the younger drivers relish the opportunity to get some publicity to their image. I guess that’s the crux isn’t it, that so much of F1 now with drivers is a cultivated image and when they don’t live up to some imaginary expectations they get slated. It’s why so much of what they say is second guessed and people try to read between the lines.

    2. You’ve also complained about such schemes as dumbing down the sport and suggested that drivers shouldn’t take part in something you criticised as a pointless gimmick. Why are you therefore complaining when a driver does what you suggest they should?

      1. Coventry Climax
        30th December 2022, 18:43

        Whoa! Care to refresh my memory as to where exactly I did what you acuse me of? And in rather unpleasant wording as well, if I may say so.

        I noticed Hamilton was the only driver not voting.
        I also noticed he’s responding to “We see your comments of support, motivation and love”. That was enough to put me off and not bother watching the vid.
        I fail to see how that is a driver doing what I think he should be doing.

  3. I agree with Arnoux, a team principal, driver, designer who makes a statement that ‘this year’ we’re not looking for wins or to jump out competition, has the wrong mentality for F1. I was a big Ricciardo fan, until he started stating ‘this year’ is a building year type drivel. Every year you are either beating your competition or being beaten, but once you go into a year with low expectations, you are taking up residence as a non participant.

    I was a huge fan of Minardi, they would celebrate if they managed to jump any competitor, every single place was hard fought and a reward, it was admirable when they punched above their weight. Always at the end of a grand prix I’d check where the Minardi’s had finished, then be proud and happy for them if it was a top 10, because they seemed to try against all odds to achieve something almost impossible, and just sometimes they’d do it.

    Under Binotto each year it’s been, not this year, not next year. With that attitude it’s not ever. I doubt Vassuer will make a huge difference, but hopefully they won’t repeat the defeatist attitude.

    1. I don’t think being realistic is a bad thing, such as what he said in preparation for 2021, but he basically never admitted strategic mistakes, that’s the problem, so they’re never fixed.

      1. @esploratore1 I agree,

        It’s funny after so many decades of watching F1 and seeing the many different cycles of how teams speak to the press. There was years of when every team would hype great optimism in the team and positivity of winning (even when there wasn’t), then you had years when every team spokesman & driver would overly play it down hard in every comment and question asked and delve into stern warnings that their team still needs a lot more work, that there is a long hard road ahead but the boys & gals at the factory are working very hard to find that next sliver of improvement but it wont come easily. They would talk like that even when their winning every race.

        There’s different ways to play it out to the press but I agree, being realistic is not a bad thing but a team director also needs to take responsibility of his ship (for better, for worse) and how it’s steered. I think he was trying to protect his crew too much and didn’t want to throw them under the bus but it’s good stewardship to call out obvious mistakes that were made. Take responsibility and bring them out to the open, openly accept it and don’t compartmentalize them; thats when it’s hard to change and improve from those mistakes if kept hush-hush. This is about winning and winning big time is what counts.

        Ferrari as a whole really does need to create a long term strategy & different culture to improve their operations and execution to win, they just seem to keep repeating the same mistakes and it wont happen overnight or in one season; they just keep tripping over themselves over and over again. I still see no reason why they wont continue this same long term pattern?
        Anyone who takes that role in the current Ferrari culture is just asking for misery in the coming years; just ask Binotto and every other team director that has worked for Ferrari since Todt (there’s a very long list) and I bet they’ll all would say the same thing.
        They all probably had to go through some kind of group therapy for Ferrari team directors afterwards to deal with the post dramatic syndrome of being a team director at Ferrari. After Todt, they’ve all gone silent and out of the limelight.I wish Vasseur luck and success.

        I do really hope Binotto bounces back, he is obviously a very talented individual in F1 and he has brought a lot to the F1 table but a team director role just wasn’t the best fit for him and that was fairly obvious when he was hired for the role but that’s on Ferrari and the ones above him who gave him that role; they sacrificed a great talent.

  4. Given that the first half of last season was Ferrari’s best for quite a while, I don’t think Binotto was all that bad.
    As for the strategy department, however… That’s an eternal issue for the supposed ‘best team in the world,’ along with their inconsistency.
    No matter how many bosses they throw at their race team, the same problems always persist.

    And CotD – Rose tinted glasses again. Racing in F1 has always sucked.
    This is what F1 is all about – tech and gizmos that take away from the sport of driving.

    1. Agreed. And to add on that, Binotto has been in place for what ? 4 years ? To say that he should have been dropped years ago is a bit ridiculous…

      1. I’ll bet he wasn’t saying it when Ferrari were leading the championship at the start of the season, starting with a 1-2 at Bahrain…..

      2. Binotto was responsible for tricking fuel flow meters and getting caught, as early as his first year as TP.

        Just saying.

    2. Perhaps Formula 1 isn’t really about the racing. It’s true that when a good piece of racing happens, it is usually the highlight of the event; Charles Leclerc’s pass on Lewis Hamilton at Copse was one of the best moments of the season, but really if all the millions of people who watch Formula 1’s primary motivation was wanting to see exciting overtakes and battles, they would be watching British Touring Cars instead, which is far less popular. Even if we take the finest battle in the history of Formula 1, the Dijon 1979 race for second place between Rene Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve, the BTCC provides similar battles on a far more regular basis, such as Josh Cook vs Ash Sutton in Brands Hatch 2018 and the Hill, Turkington, Ingram and Sutton fight at Donington this year.

      It does beg the question, why is Formula 1 more popular? I personally enjoy it more than the BTCC and it is difficult to understand why for reasons just stated. Perhaps it is the fascinating tyre strategies, one of the biggest highlights of modern F1 which cause such tension at the end of races, or the fact that it is one big event at the weekend rather than three short races (ironically, with sprint races now starting). Or maybe it is the connection to the fascinating history, which is far less accessible in other forms of motorsport. Once upon a time it would have been the technical aspects that fascinated people, all the advanced innovation, but I don’t think that is the case so much any more. Clearly the skill of the drivers is a part of it, on individual moments such as Leclerc chasing Perez in the wet in Singapore or the final qualifying lap for the polesitter at Monaco, but in general the F1 drivers aren’t visibly more skilful than touring car drivers (although they are better drivers).

      But I think DRS needs to go. Exciting racing is still an important part of Formula 1 and there would be far more of it if the driver ahead actually had the ability to defend a position, which just wasn’t the case in 2022.

      1. Perhaps Formula 1 isn’t really about the racing. It’s true that when a good piece of racing happens, it is usually the highlight of the event

        That’s the way I’ve always seen it – but as you point out, when good racing happens, it makes everything else about F1 so much better.
        Just imagine how much better F1 could be if it actually was about good racing….

        And I can’t imagine as a motorsports enthusiast that I’d ever restrict myself to only watching F1. It doesn’t tick anywhere near enough motosport-themed boxes to be fulfilling on its own.

        Perhaps that is the real point. People don’t want F1 to be sport or even an engineering competition – they want it to be a reality TV show.
        Liberty are on to it, and the recent growth shows what the masses really want far better than any comments section or fan-based survey on the internet.

        Why is Formula 1 more popular?

        Well, it does more marketing than any other series, it visits more of the global population than any other series, and it has more events than any other series…. There’s the first part of the answer. Many people are prone to hype, succumb to it and then become part of it themselves, feeding it to even more people. F1’s reach is beyond its popularity critical mass, so to speak.

        I personally enjoy it far less than other series, and I know exactly why. Most of what is good in F1 is present in other series, and often done better.

        but in general the F1 drivers aren’t visibly more skilful than touring car drivers (although they are better drivers).

        That sounds like a contradiction… The reality is that F1 drivers make better F1 drivers – but they aren’t actually ‘better’ drivers generally. They just specialise in a particular type of car and type of racing – knowing full well that everything else they will ever race is going to be slower, giving them relatively more time to process what’s happening and what they need to do about it.

        It would be better without DRS – but they need to fundamentally reorganise their priorities to make it happen.
        F1 has gone far beyond the tipping point to where teams now understand their cars and the physical world it exists in too well. While they persist in being the fastest and allowing aero design freedom – the racing will always be a secondary concern. It will only happen on the odd occasion.

  5. Those who are in a rush to shout “I told you so” the loudest say more about themselves than whatever they’re talking about.

    1. That being said, not necessarily a bad thing, just very passionate obviously. Some mistakes are unforgiveable, but I don’t count mistakes in obviously doing their best to run the highest profile F1 team among them.

  6. I think Arnoux got this wrong personally, I think Binotto made some serious errors but he also took over during a very challenging time. He got the job off the back of building the most powerful engine in F1 for his team really (despite the legality being in question). It was very unfortunate that the very next year the rug got pulled out from under the engine and they had to revert to a seriously underpowered design which took a number of years to fix.

    So for me 2020 and 2021 were acceptable years for them to fall back on performance (covid also likely had it’s challenges for a team principal) and it was essential that for this year they came back to the forefront. They started 2022 with arguably the faster car having taken some gambles on design which included a very risky interpretation on the floor and with the engine performance/reliability balance.

    I personally don’t think those design decisions were wrong as they will get to fix the reliability on their engine while maintaining their performance level for the upcoming years where as if they hadn’t gambled they’d likely be underpowered compared to Mercedes and Honda for the next 3 years. I don’t think that was a mistake and on balance will help them significantly in the years to come (provided other engine providers don’t find a way to get more power through “reliability upgrades”).

    The next risky move they made was on their interpretation of the split flexi floor concept to take advantage of being able to run their car significantly lowered than was intended. I think this was a borderline mistake as it was pretty clear if found it didn’t actually fit within the rules or indeed the intent of the new rules and the FIA did say they would cut out such loop holes if found prior to the season. As it was the FIA pretty much gave them the ability to run an illegal floor for half a season in the end so in some ways if it added 3 tenths in performance you’d have to say it was worth it to have that performance for half a season. The mistake seemed to be they didn’t have a good backup solution and they lost performance in the second half. On balance I don’t think the risk was a mistake for Binotto.

    So then we get down to the reasons why Binotto likely ended up on the chopping block which arguably in the end wasn’t down to the car performance during his tenure imo. Fans of Ferrari will know better than me but there were clearly numerous errors in strategy during his tenure and there seemed to be very little in terms of learning from the mistakes that were made. Often after a disastrous race we’d get a piece of PR from Binotto defending the team and while I think this was good management to isolate the team from blame it did lend itself a bad view in the media that they were in denial about the issues they experienced.

    I think I read on here that others felt another significant factor was Binotto’s inability to seemingly sway the FIA or other teams politically to get what his team needed in the regulations. On the flip side I think in Leclerc and Sainz he’s built one of the strongest driver partnerships on the grid for the future for the team. On balance I felt he’d done enough to get one last year out of the team but I’m not having to pay the cheques he’s writing so what would I know.

  7. Mattia totally didn’t oversee the R&D and use of an absolutely not illegal power unit in Formula 1.

    Mattia also didn’t have to give up anything to get the FIA not to release their findings to the public.

    Hence why Mattia was never on borrowed time and never needed to win a Championship to maybe have a chance of continued employment at Ferrari.

    1. Mattia totally didn’t oversee the R&D and use of an absolutely not illegal power unit in Formula 1.

      He was noted to have been in charge of the engine development when the multiple dodgy (or downright illegal) engine “features” were developed.
      In overall charge when the questionable floor development was done. The floor setup was designed to evade the test, when the test was revised to more accurately detect floor compliance (or lack of) they needed to alter it.

      The major question for me is: if there were technical staff under him, as well as his own personal input, that could design clever cheats or modifications that ran right on the knife edge, why waste those talented minds designing illegal items when they could be designing legal ones?
      Surely expending a little more effort for a totally legal solution to be used over a few seasons is better than expending almost the same effort several times on questionable items that need to be removed when the FIA figure out the fiddle? Over time, it’s less effort and the time saved from avoiding the redesign minus the cheat/dodgy aspect can be used for other development.

      A mostly talented team with much misdirected effort. Some of their drivers in the last decade also fit the same description. Alonso – usually busy doing the wrong thing, politicking for better treatment, rather than focussing on driving. Vettel – a touch of the Alonso and also a tendency to have the red mist descend and thus lose out to a driver in an inferior car.
      Even if the superiority of the Ferrari was dodgy development items, it was still the more capable car and should have taken him to the WDC

      1. it […] should have taken him to the WDC


        Not 2015, and not 2016, when Mercedes were miles ahead of everyone.

        2017? Not with that engine double-whammy in Malaysia and Japan.

        2018? Not a chance the way Mercedes and Lewis put their foot down (or Ferrari failed to keep up) in the second half of the season.

        2019? Mercedes ahead of everyone, again.

        2020? Totally not penance for what Ferrari and Binotto absolutely didn’t do in the prior years.

        I may see a way to a WDC for VET at Ferrari in 2017, but only if RAI and VER didn’t crash into him in Singapore _and_ Ferrari managed to avoid at least one of the two weekends where they over-cooked their PU.

        1. Apart from 2015 to 2016, in all other years you mentioned, Ferrari shot themselves in the foot. they were the architect of their problems and they faced the consequences

          2019 and especially 2020 down to 2021, they were suffering the consequences of their actions. when I say Ferrari, I meant the whole synergy that works together to be Ferrari F1 team

  8. Arnoux is about as relevant to modern F1 as Sir Jackie Stewart is.
    Who cares what he thinks?

    I actually think Binottos reign at Ferrari has been mostly decent, but Ferrari themselves are the issue – this is why the same thing happens time and time again. The only exception in my memory is the Todt era, when they forgot they were Ferrari for a while and allowed themselves to be a proper multinational organisation that employed the best people from their fields and built a racing team and not a symbol of Italy.

    Until they do the same kind of thing again, they’re hamstrung by the limitations that they give themselves.

    1. Until they do the same kind of thing again, they’re hamstrung by the limitations that they give themselves.

      Totally agree, but I can’t see Ferrari top management ceasing to believe their own PR/BS

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