Ferrari team boss fears Red Bull more than Mercedes

Michelle Foster
Close-up of Max Verstappen leading Charles Leclerc in Saudi Arabia. Jeddah March 2022.

Close-up of Max Verstappen's Red Bull leading Charles Leclerc's Ferrari in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah March 2022.

Mercedes are second behind Ferrari in both championships but Mattia Binotto says he fears Red Bull more than the reigning Constructors’ Champions.

This year’s championship has seen Ferrari emerge as the team to beat, the Scuderia claiming two pole positions, two grands prix wins and five podium finishes in total.

As such, Charles Leclerc is leading the Drivers’ standings by 34 points over George Russell, while Mercedes trail Ferrari by 46 points in the Constructors’ Championship.

Red Bull are third in that, a further 10 points off the pace, while Sergio Perez is P4 on the drivers’ log with reigning World Champion Max Verstappen only sixth.

It is, however, Red Bull whom Binotto fears most.

Asked in an interview with Corriere dello Sport which of the two he is most worried about, the Ferrari team boss replied: “Red Bull – they have a superior development capacity.”

With all new cars in play this season it is fair to say the teams who spent most of last year focusing on the 2022 cars are the ones who have made the biggest improvements.

Red Bull and Mercedes, who fought for the World title through to the very last lap of the championship, have gone in the other direction.

Asked if he sees that as a hangover from 2021, Binotto said: “I don’t see it like that at all. They were motivated, for us it was all uphill. Working on the future when you get slapped every weekend was not easy.

“You have to put your face to it and have a management that accepts the situation. If the opponents are behind, there are other reasons – it has nothing to do with distraction.”

But rather than focus on those behind, Binotto is enjoying a season when Ferrari are the team and one of his drivers, Leclerc, is leading the championship.

With Leclerc 38 points ahead of his team-mate Carlos Sainz there have been questions about when, if ever, Ferrari will give the Monégasque number one status and back him for the title.

Binotto says that is not happening any time soon.

“No, they both have the right to express themselves at their best,” he said. “At this stage there is no need for team orders. And without the mistake in Melbourne, Carlos would be second.

“And if Carlos wins, he takes points away from Verstappen, the real rival.”

 

The team boss has made it clear that winning the Constructors’ title is Ferrari’s main objective as the Drivers’ alone would not make him happy.

“We couldn’t be – the Constructors’ championship represents the solidity of a team,” he said. “To understand – a Drivers’ title would be extraordinary, but I think our goal goes further.”

 

Ferrari 'fear' Red Bull more than Mercedes

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said he fears Red Bull more than Mercedes this year, and he's arguably right to do so.