Christian Danner: Losing Mattia Binotto has set Ferrari back three years

Michelle Foster
Ferrari's Mattia Binotto at the Singapore Grand Prix. Marina Bay, October 2022.

Ferrari's Mattia Binotto at the Singapore Grand Prix. Marina Bay, October 2022.

Dropping Mattia Binotto and signing Fred Vasseur as the new team boss has put Ferrari “back three years” according to former F1 driver Christian Danner.

After two years without a single race win, Ferrari, it has been speculated, paying a price for their 2019 engine cheating scandal, Binotto saw Ferrari return to the top step of the podium this season.

But securing two wins in the first three races, and leading both championships, expectations were raised not only in Maranello but amongst Ferrari’s Tifosi. It was short-lived.

Ferrari managed just two more wins in the remaining 19 races, their title hopes in tatters even before the summer break.

Binotto, though, insisted they would fight back, proclaiming after Charles Leclerc crashed out of the lead in the France that there was “no reason why not to win 10 races from now to the end.” They didn’t even win one, Binotto handing in his resignation at the end of the season.

The Scuderia have since announced Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur as his replacement, the Frenchman starting the job on January 9.

Danner, however, believes Ferrari have made a mistake.

“There is a magic word in Formula 1, how to be successful, and that means continuity,” he told AvD Motor & Sport magazine from Sport1.

“Even if things aren’t going so well, it’s better to analyse the problems, maybe even restructure them, but to continue working within a large structure.

“I fear that Mattia Binotto’s departure will set Ferrari back three years.”

Something to be said for continuity

Ferrari’s most successful era ever was the Michael Schumacher period where they won five World titles in five years, 2000 to 2004. Throughout that time Jean Todt was the team principal, Ross Brawn the sporting boss and Schumacher the number one driver.

While Schumacher stepped down after the 2006 season, Todt remained at the helm and a year later Ferrari claimed what today still stands as their most recent World Drivers’ title with Kimi Raikkonen winning in 2007.

Since Todt they’ve had four team bosses, now five, in Stefano Domenicali, just over six years, Marco Mattiacci, not even 12 months, Maurizio Arrivabene, for four years, and then Binotto for four.

In the same time Red Bull have had Christian Horner, signed in 2005, and have won six Drivers’ Championship titles. Mercedes have had Ross Brawn from 2010 to 2012 and then Toto Wolff since 2013, winning seven.

Danner is right, Ferrari can’t keep changing team bosses whenever they don’t get the success they want. They need to stick with someone and back them because everyone knows change takes time to be effective.

But at least Vasseur knows what he’s getting himself in for, Sauber founder Peter Sauber having already warned him ” if you know the history of Ferrari – back to the company founder Enzo – then you know that the team bosses usually have a short life.”

Read more: The eight most expensive penalties in F1 history