Christian Horner on his ‘sympathy’ for Mattia Binotto, and the ‘good news’ for Williams

Michelle Foster
Christian Horner and Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto speaking. Monaco, May 2022.

Red Bull's Christian Horner speaks to Ferrari's Mattia Binotto during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. Monaco, May 2022.

Ahead of his 19th car launch as team principal at Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner has spoken of his “sympathy” for Mattia Binotto and applauded Williams for signing James Vowles.

Trouncing Ferrari on the way to last year’s championship double, Red Bull put in an almost flawless season. The same cannot be said of the Scuderia.

The tale of the team’s woes has been widely commented on, Ferrari paying the price for an unreliable engine that forced them to turn down the power as well as questionable decisions from the pit wall.

Team boss Binotto paid the price, handing in his resignation after the season with Ferrari announcing former Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur as his replacement.

Horner says he feels for Binotto, especially as under the Italian’s leadership Ferrari won their first races since 2019.

“It has been interesting to watch the movement,” he told Motor Sport Magazine. “I’ve sympathy for Mattia, because ultimately he’d done a good job.

“Last year, that was a big step forward from where they had been, so that must be tough for him after such long service that he had given to Ferrari.

“Fred, it’ll be interesting to see if he’s still arguing about the same points that he was for Sauber in upcoming meetings! But again, he’s a very capable guy. So yeah, it’ll be very interesting.

“I’m sure they’re all very capable people. So we’ll get to see what the dynamics are at the next Formula 1 Commission meeting.”

PlanetF1 recommends

A new-look livery and new engine partner as Red Bull continue launch season?
F1 team principals: How long has each team boss been in charge?
Concern for Red Bull as cost penalty already ‘significantly’ impacting the team

Binotto’s exit and Vasseur’s arrival were just some of the moves in the team management silly season with Andreas Seidl signed as the Sauber Group’s CEO, Andrea Stella taking his place at McLaren, Jost Capito leaving Williams and Vowles appointed the new team boss.

Speaking about the latter’s move from Mercedes, Horner said: “I don’t know James particularly well, but he’s obviously a very capable guy.

“Williams will have done their due diligence and research and I think it’s great that they’re giving him the chance to make that step up. So I think that can only be good news for Williams.

“And is there anything attached to that? Williams would have obviously done what’s right for them and right for their business. But only they will know what has been agreed for that early release to have happened.”

But while half of the grid has been affected by change, Red Bull’s management will once again stay as is with Horner preparing for his 19th season as Red Bull team boss.

He joined the team back in 2005, at the time the youngest-ever team boss, and under his leadership the team has won six Drivers’ Championship titles and five Constructors’.

The most recent double came last season, Max Verstappen retaining the World title while Sergio Perez helped him wrap up the teams’ trophy.

“I think we’ve always valued continuity,” Horner added, “and I think continuity has an enormous benefit, because it removes a culture of fear.

“And I think that stability is one of our key assets that we’ve enjoyed – I’ve always been a great believer in that. And you build on that stability, and you empower people to do their jobs.

“And of course, we’ve achieved quite a bit of success during those last 18 seasons. So my motivation is just as high as the first day I walked in here, and I’m excited about what’s ahead for this year, but also, with what’s in the pipeline for 2026 and beyond.”