Ferrari have dismissed a report that Mattia Binotto is to be replaced as team principal by Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur as “totally without foundation”.
Gazzetta dello Sport reported Binotto would pay the price for a 2022 season which Ferrari began with big leads in both World Championships after three rounds but quickly fell away as Red Bull got on top.
The Italian publication claimed Vasseur is held in high esteem by the Stellantis group and that he would replace Binotto from January.
But Ferrari responded by issuing a statement in which they categorically stated no such move was in the pipeline.
“In response to speculation in certain media regarding Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto’s position, Ferrari state these rumours are totally without foundation,” read the team’s statement.
Operational and strategy errors during races this season have been a large part of Ferrari’s undoing and pressure has inevitably built on Binotto, the man at the top.
The report claimed Vasseur, 54, was first considered by the Scuderia last summer because of his vast racing experience, having worked his way up to F1 from managing teams in junior formulas, which gives him a different skill-set to the more technical knowledge offered by Binotto.
The Alfa Romeo team run by Vasseur are the Sauber operation based in Switzerland and they have engines supplied by Ferrari.
A move for the Frenchman would make sense considering Sauber are set to strengthen links with Audi over the next few years before the German manufacturer enter as an engine supplier in 2026, which could have put Vasseur’s position in jeopardy.
Alfa Romeo are on course to finish a fine sixth in this season’s Constructors’ Championship, which represents a big improvement on the last few campaigns.
If they can hold off Aston Martin, who are five points behind, at the concluding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it would be Sauber’s year position-wise since 2012 when they were also sixth.
Although Ferrari won two of this season’s first three grands prix through Charles Leclerc, their season began to unravel from the moment the Monegasque crashed during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and fell from third place to sixth.
Since then, the Italian giants threw away several potential victory chances due to strategy blunders, car breakdowns and driver mistakes. They have added only two more wins since Leclerc’s in Australia on April 10. Leclerc triumphed in Austria and his team-mate, Carlos Sainz, in Britain.
Binotto has been team principal since January 2019 when he succeeded Maurizio Arrivabene. Born in Switzerland, the 53-year-old has worked for Ferrari since soon after he left university with a Masters in motor vehicle engineering.
He worked for Ferrari during their golden era in the first few years of this century, became head of the engine department in 2013 and then chief technical officer in 2016 after the departure of James Allison.