Ferrari criticised for the ‘incomprehensible’ decision to let Mattia Binotto go

Oliver Harden
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.

Former Formula 1 driver Christijan Albers has slammed Ferrari’s ‘incomprehensible’ decision to part ways with Mattia Binotto at the end of the 2022 season.

After four seasons in charge, Binotto resigned from his position as team principal last November following Ferrari’s capitulation during the 2022 title battle with Max Verstappen and Red Bull, with the Swiss-born Italian replaced by Frederic Vasseur for the upcoming campaign.

Although Ferrari failed to win the World Championship in 2022, the team did return to race-winning contention for the first time since 2019 with Binotto’s work on the innovative F1-75, which claimed the most pole positions of any car last season, said to be instrumental in the Scuderia’s resurgence.

Albers, who made 46 F1 appearances between 2005 and 2007, has been left baffled by the changes at Ferrari and has hinted Binotto was the scapegoat for the team’s failure to sustain their strong start to the season.

He told Dutch publication De Telegraaf: “I find it incomprehensible that Ferrari has parted with Binotto.

“Okay, officially he quit himself, but everyone knows how it works. I feel that a scapegoat was sought and someone’s head had to be taken off. Then you quickly end up with the team boss.

“Still, Binotto has been instrumental in making Ferrari competitive again. Everyone forgets how bad that team was roughly a year ago.”

Vasseur appointment means Ferrari have had five different team principals since Jean Todt, the orchestrator of Michael Schumacher’s dominant period at the turn of the century, left the job at the end of 2007.

In contrast, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has been in place since the energy drinks giant arrived on the grid in 2005, while Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff has held his position since 2013.

Albers believes that continuity is the key to success in F1, adding: “The only way to achieve success is to let people grow in their positions and give them time to build a team.

“I actually thought Binotto had a refreshing look, because he was so calm and was more like a geography teacher. I don’t think it’s fair that he was thrown out.”

As a highly experienced and successful team manager, particularly in the junior categories, Vasseur is widely regarded as a safe pair of hands as Ferrari continue to search for their first title of any kind since 2008.

However, Albers has warned that life at Ferrari provides a unique challenge and has pointed to one of Vasseur’s first acts as Sauber team principal in 2017 – when he scrapped a deal to run the Honda engines that would eventually power Verstappen to the World Championship – as an indication that he may not have what it takes to bring success to the Scuderia.

“Ferrari is a bit different cake, more than a thousand people work there,” he said.

“Many people wax lyrical about him, but it is conveniently forgotten that on his first day at Sauber he single-handedly botched the impending deal with engine supplier Honda. And we all know how much success they have had with Red Bull in recent years.”

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