The worst kept secret in Formula One was finally announced today as Ferrari accepted Mattia Binotto’s resignation. Having built a competitive car this season, Ferrari failed to capitalise on its superior 1 lap pace over the RB18. Despite claiming the most pole positions of the season, Ferrari failed to capitalise on the grand prix starting position due to a combination of unreliability, disastrous strategy and driver errors.
Team boss Mattia Binotto was regularly challenged last season over the competence of the team’s personnel yet he steadfastly refused to even accept mistakes had been made.
Binotto wanted to leave 12 months ago
Binotto joined the Italian F1 team in 1995 and witnessed first hand the Ross Brawn, Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher revolution that would revive the team’s lagging fortunes. Mattia served his apprenticeship in F1 during the most successful years Ferrari has ever seen.
Mattia’s ability as an engineer is without question, yet since taking on the leadership mantle from Arrivabene, Binotto appears to be at a loss at times when questioned over Ferrari’s operational matters.
The real surprise surrounding Binotto’s departure from Maranello is the news he wished to leave 12 months ago. The team refused his request based on the reason there was no successor who could step up as team principal in place.
No successful management theory would ever see a disheartened lame duck leader left in situ for 12 months because there is no obvious successor.
Ferrari try to recruit Horner
Meantime Ferrari contacted Christian Horner and Andreas Seidl of McLaren to sound out their interest in taking the top job at Ferrari. The Red Bull team boss was clearly a long shot, though the fact Seidl turned Ferrari down would appear to suggest he has little confidence the the ability of Maranello to live up to their historic reputation.
Some will argue Binotto has moved Ferrari forward since replacing Maurizio Arrivabene in 2019 however in terms of constructors’ championship finishing positions Ferrari have fared significantly worse since Mattia was recruited.
The 2020 season was the first year the Ferrari car was created completely under Binotto’s leadership yet the Scuderia finished in an embarrassing 6th position during the Covid-19 interrupted year.
F1’s impossible job
To a certain degree Binotto had an impossible task. In accepting the role as both the team principal and chief technical director Mattia’s fate was settled long ago.
Despite rumours abounding in Abu Dhabi that Frederic Vasseur of Alfa Romeo/Sauber has been lined up to replace Binotto, it appears strange Ferrari didn’t make this announcement alongside the departure of Binotto.
Clearly Mattia Binotto lost heart sometime ago in the Ferrari F1 project and as such his sacking/resignation is the right move for the Italian team.
Yet the question remains over who can return the historic Maranello F1 outfit to the glory years remembered so well by the Tifosi. Since Jean Todt’s departure 15 years ago the Ferrari team have failed to find a way to develop a championship winning car and driver combination.
BREAKING NEWS: Mattia Binotto has resigned as Ferrari team principalpic.twitter.com/1IqhOCU0v3
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) November 29, 2022