The question on the lips of most Ferrari and Formula One fans is whether Ferrari has improved under the leadership of Mattia Binotto. Under the previous boss, Maurizio Arrivabene, the red team delivered 3 second places and one third place in the F1 constructors’ championship. By way of contrast Binotto has believed a P2, P6, P3 and the team are currently in a fight with Mercedes for P2/3 this season.
On the face of it Ferrari under Binotto has performed less well than under it’s previous lead. Yet despite this the Chairman of the Ferrari automotive manufacturer has given Mattia his ‘vote of confidence’ during the Italian GP weekend.
Ferrari looked set for their first title winning year since 2008 as the red team and Charles LeClerc stormed into the lead in both championships. However as the season progressed poor reliability of the Ferrari power unit, operational errors by mechanics and poor driving and strategy have seen Red Bull and Max Verstappen hold an almost unassailable lead going into the Italian GP.
The Ferrari power unit reliability has been poor across for the customer teams too. In fact each of these teams including Ferrari have completed less laps in the season to date than those running other manufacturer’s power units.
John Elkann tells La Gazzetta dello Sport, “Following the first grand prix, it seemed right to dream, but we now must remain humble as the results speak for themselves.”
Elkann expressed dissatisfaction with the results this season but gave Mattia Binotto his vote of confidence.
“I believe that trusting Binotto and his team was the right choice and it paid off.” said Elkann. “Thanks to them we are competitive and winning again.”
Then came the sting in the tale. Elkann details the areas he feels which need improving, which in fact run through most of the team.
“But there is no doubt that the work in Maranello, in the pits, on the pit wall and behind the wheel needs to improve. “We must continue to grow.”
Binotto is included specifically as Elkann continues.
“This applies to the mechanics, the engineers, the drivers, and obviously for all the management, including the team principal. We can see this in reliability, in driving, in strategy. There are still too many mistakes.”
The vote of confidence is regularly a double edged sword in sporting contests. Managers of teams often given the support of their owners and a list of targets are gone the next time they and the team fail to deliver.
“We have aimed to be competitive first and foremost,” said Elkann. “If you are not competitive you have no margin [for error] while you can work on reliability.
“This is why I am confident that between now and 2026, Ferrari will return to winning a constructors’ and drivers’ world championship. We will succeed before 20 years of famine, given that our last drivers world championship dates back to 2007 and the constructors championship to 2008.”
Mattia Binotto has repeated time and again that the team are ahead of schedule and that Ferrari does not expect to win titles this year
Yet the reality is for Formula One’s most successful team, failing to win a title for 14 years is unacceptable back in Italy. The longest era without a constructors’ title Ferrari have experienced is 15 years during the 1984-1998 F1 seasons.
Another failure in 2023 with see that record equalled.
John Elkann’s vote of confidence for Binotto is not open ended and may prove to be the ‘Kiss of death’ for the Italian team leader. Elkann has felt it necessary to get involved and comment and has set improvement from heroin as the standard he expects.
To add to his embarrassment, Mattia Binotto was today forced to apologise for calling Yuki Tsunoda a Tsunami. Of course Japan suffered tragically from a Tsunami back in 2011 killing 16,000 people.
“Certainly, I need to apologise,” said Mattia. “It was a mistake by using that word. I had no intention to do anything wrong and I’m very close to the victims, which honestly I realised.”
It was notable John Elkann specifically included the team principal rather than just leaving his criticism levelled at the generic team management
Time in fact is short and Ferrari must improve immediately or changes will be made.
No red without yellow 💛
Introducing our special edition livery and driver overalls for this weekend’s #ItalianGP 🤩
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) September 7, 2022