Damon Hill believes Mattia Binotto was “thrown under the bus a bit” by Ferrari at the end of last season, as the former team boss tendered his resignation with the Scuderia.
Binotto left the team after a 2022 season which had potential for two title challenges, but delivered a handful of race victories among a host of pole positions, as Max Verstappen and Red Bull ultimately eased clear of Ferrari as the season progressed.
Multiple factors were blamed on this, from driver errors to strategic blunders, but Binotto nonetheless resigned as team boss and Fred Vasseur was brought across from Alfa Romeo to take his place.
Hill and fellow former F1 driver Pedro de la Rosa were discussing Binotto’s departure from the team, and De la Rosa praised Binotto’s foresight that he had while in the highest-pressured job in the entire sport, while Hill felt he could and perhaps should have stayed at the team this season.
“Fred is a racer, he’s won every category. I mean, he’s definitely going to be a great team principal. There’s no question about that,” De la Rosa explained on the F1 Nation podcast.
“Mattia Binotto was really good for Ferrari in the sense that he was the one of the first team principals that actually could think long term, he was brave enough to think in the mid-long term at Ferrari where normally at Ferrari, I’ve been there and every decision is orientated to the next race, next Grand Prix.
“But Mattia was brave enough to during 2021 [to] diminish the development progress of the car and basically concentrate on the change of regulations from 2022.
“It’s not easy at Ferrari, so I think Mattia did a fantastic job and we are seeing a very competitive Ferrari, but thanks to his work as well, you know, so let’s not forget that.”
Hill agreed with De la Rosa’s sentiment, adding that keeping Binotto on would have been beneficial for the Scuderia – perhaps even splitting duties between him and Vasseur.
“I think that Mattia did a brilliant job and I think he’d been thrown under the bus a bit, frankly,” the 1996 World Champion reasoned.
“But I think the reason he has gone, has been as much to do with… his real skill didn’t seem to me to be running a Formula 1 team in terms of the race strategy.
Jody Scheckter criticises ‘obvious’ Ferrari mistakes under pressure in 2022
When Chelsea, Leeds and Tottenham signed up for the failed Premier 1 series
Can Fernando Alonso crash the ‘Big Three’ party at the Bahrain Grand Prix?
“You remember the conversation on the podium with Charles Leclerc, and stuff about the managing of the drivers and all that pit wall stuff? Really [that is] where Fred Vasseur is really good.
“I think he’s good at looking at a race team and I think that, you know, Mattia Binotto, they’ve lost a real talent there back at the factory. I think he could have been could have been very effective.
“I don’t know what went on in there to think that they could cope without him, but I think that they could have split the roles.
“I think they could have had Fred in there as running Ferrari’s operations at the racetrack, and kept Mattia in there as a team principal.”