Gerhard Berger believes Ferrari missed a trick when they let Mattia Binotto go as he feels his former team would’ve been best served with a two-pronged leadership between the Italian and Fred Vasseur.
Last year Binotto paid the price for one too many fumbles as Ferrari went from early-season championship leaders to distant runners-up.
As rumours of his pending axing grew in volume, Binotto handed in his resignation and in doing so called time on his 30-year Ferrari career.
Gerhard Berger questions Mattia Binotto’s exit
The Scuderia announced former Alfa Romeo team boss Vasseur would be taking up the reins, but so far his leadership isn’t proving any more effective.
Ferrari have yet to win a single grand prix this season and instead of fighting to finish runner-up in the standings, they’ve only just overhauled Aston Martin for third.
Berger isn’t exactly signing Vasseur’s praises.
The former Ferrari driver told the F1 Nation podcast of Vasseur’s leadership: “Difficult to say, at the moment it’s up and down.
“I always said I would have felt better if I had been Ferrari to have kept Binotto on the technical side and put Vasseur on the sporting side and tried to split some work and not put everything on one set of shoulders because it’s so complex today to have a successful Formula 1 team, difficult for one man to manage everything.
“But anyway, they chose it this way, and in some ways, you feel they are not as fast as they were last year. Maybe doing a little bit less mistakes, maybe not, I don’t know.
“But the outcome is quite similar and it’s not good enough to beat Red Bull.”
But take Red Bull out of the equation, and Berger reckons Ferrari would still have to fight five rivals who could be winners were it not for Max Verstappen’s team.
“But,” he continued, “saying this we have Mercedes, we have the two McLarens, we have one Aston Martin, you know, I mean, there are five cars that could be maybe champion.”
Gerhard Berger says Fred Vasseur is no Jean Todt
Today’s Ferrari does have one thing in common with the Scuderia from when Berger was there in 1993 in that there’s a new team boss and he’s French.
Berger, though, says while there are parallels, Vasseur is not the next Jean Todt.
“I wouldn’t make parallels to the team boss,” he said, “but in general, yes very similar to the way when I was there. I totally agree.
“When you look to all the years of Ferrari there were just two guys really could take the team in their hands and run the team. That was Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher.
“I mean you had some other champions, but they’ve been champions because everything was going in the right direction, fine.
“But Michael and Niki, they ran the team for a long time, there were a lot of championships they won, or races they won, and it looked like they had a special talent running the team.”
In general, though, the Austrian says the driver “shouldn’t be in charge”, it should be “the manager”.
“When Ferrari was extremely successful there was a great team manager in Jean Todt, a great driver was Michael Schumacher, a great designer with Rory Byrne, you had a great technical director, which was Ross Brawn.
“I’m a strong believer that a big group like this really brings the optimum out of a team.”