Binotto to join Audi rumours dashed

When the boss of the Ferrari Scuderia Formula One team resigns because he believes he no longer has the support of the company’s hierarchy, the obvious question is not always which team will he join next?

Being the boss of Ferrari is usually an F1 career ending move. However, Binotto appears to be different to most of his predecessors and probably because of his keen engineering mind and that he had the role of Ferrari team boss thrust upon him.



Binotto responsible for Ferrari’s best PU

Mattia’s background is buried in the grease monkey’s habitat of the engine department. He was presumably a significant player in the development of the controversial Ferrari 2019 power unit which was quicker than the fabled Mercedes version.

Yet the FIA investigated Ferrari’s design and presumably found them wanting in terms of compliance with the regulations. The challenge from Ferrari faltered towards the end of the season and  their power unit appeared revised and much slower.

Nothing was ever revealed from the conversations between the FIA and Ferrari, though some kind of deal to cover up the Scuederia’s transgressions was clearly made.

In Italy, this episode rather than embarrass Ferrari was seen by many as a badge of honour given Formula One is about innovation and sailing as close to the wind as possible without getting caught. 



Mattia missed F1 races from the off

Binotto’s fateful promotion was sealed. After four years in charge Ferrari clearly felt that Arrivabene had taken the Scuderia as far as he was capable and it was time for a change and Binotto was the natural successor.

For Ferrari being able to promote a “lifer” in Binotto was another feather in the cap of the team. 

Yet the public and up front role of being Ferrari’s team principal never came easy to Mattia. Binotto missed races in 2020 to focus on developments at the factory leaving Laurent Mekies as the de facto trackside team principal during these races.

This was in stark contrast to the other big beast F1 team bosses who at that time had never missed a Grand Prix. Wolff has since done so though Horner remains steadfast in his obsession with the Red Bull Racing team trackside and is an ever present figure on the pit wall.

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Ferrari politics did for Binotto

It may well have been the changing of the guard at ‘Ferrari Plc’ that in the end did for Mattio Binotto. Ferrari had a strong challenger in the SF-75 for 2022, scored more pole positions than Red Bull Racing but their challenge for titles had all but failed before the half way point of the season.

The trackside team and drivers made many mistakes during the year and dutifully their team principal defended his gang in there face of heavy media criticism.

However, the inbound group CEO in Benedetto Vigna appeared to believe it was pas the time the Ferrari F1 team should be winning F1 championships and so Binotto did the right thing and resigned.

A ‘sacked’ Ferrari boss usually reinvents themselves somewhere else as did Stefano Domenicali who became the head of Lamborghini before his current role as the CEO of F1 operations fro Liberty Media.



Unheard of new role for ex-Ferrari boss

Yet the F1 media appeared to be almost instantly persuaded that Binotto would do something none of his predecessors had, and return to another F1 team.

Formu1a.una reported that as part of the exit negotiations Ferrari had upped Binotto’s garden leave period and payoff up from 6 to 12 months. This alone is enough to create speculation that Binotto was set to join another F1 team.

Both Toto Wolff and Christian Horner have denied in interviews that Mattia will find himself a home in either Brackley or Milton Keynes.

Which left the obvious move open for Mattia which would be to join the long standing Ferrari customer team – Sauber.

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Door left open for Binotto at Sauber

While the team principal of Sauber/Alfa Romeo obviously replaced Binotto at Ferrari, the soon to be fully owned Audi outfit did not properly replace Fred Vasseur.

They instead appointed McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl as Sauber Group CEO and the role of team principal remains vacant but with Alessandro Alunni Bravi named as the new Formula 1 team representative for FIA and F1 purposes.

Again this has the sound of a team awaiting their new principal and Binotto appears to fit the bill nicely.

However, reports in the Italian media today may well have dashed hopes that Mattia Binotto will join the Suaber/Soon to be Audi team given comets he made to colleagues.



Mattia calls Audi F1 personnel “clowns”

The ousted Ferrari team was was rumoured to have been given a tour of the Audi Neuberg headquarters recently and was apparently unimpressed.

“He was somewhat disappointed by what he saw at Audi,” the Italian publication Corriere dello Sport also reports.

“So much so that in some private messages he sensationally said that some of the characters he met in that meeting were ‘clowns’.”

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Binotto could join a new F1 team

There seems little other opportunity for Binotto with any other current teams on the F1 grid, but it could be his future lies with a Formula One start up team as his good friend Gunther Steiner did with Haas F1.

“I don’t know, you have to ask him that. I think he’s in a good place. I spoke with him at the beginning of the week and I think a guy like Mattia will land on his feet,” claimed Steiner in the recent Netflix ‘Drive to Survive’ series.

“I’m sure that Binotto will be able to stay in Formula 1 after the gardening period.”

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