Rumours intensify with ex-F1 team boss set for very quick return

Henry Valantine
Esteban Ocon lapping ahead of Lando Norris. Canada June 2023

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon lapping ahead of Lando Norris. Canada June 2023

Rumours surrounding Mattia Binotto becoming Alpine team principal are intensifying, with multiple reports claiming he has agreed to join the Enstone-based team as Otmar Szafnauer’s replacement.

The former Ferrari team boss was spotted in the paddock at the British Grand Prix in July, and has been the name most consistently linked with the now-vacant position at Alpine since it became available last week, with Szafnauer agreeing a ‘mutual’ termination of his deal with the French team, along with long-serving sporting director Alan Permane.

Binotto departed Ferrari at the end of 2022 after the Scuderia fell away from Red Bull in the title fight despite boasting a car at least the RB18’s equal in the early part of the season, with the 53-year-old handing in his resignation after the season ended.

Mattia Binotto reportedly spotted at post-Spa tyre test

A report from L’Auto Journal in France claims that Binotto was at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend and stayed for the post-race Pirelli tyre test, and they claim he has already agreed terms to become Alpine team boss, following conversations with Renault CEO Luca de Meo.

Any announcement of his arrival could come potentially as early as September, keeping in mind gardening leave commitments to Ferrari that would prevent him from joining rival teams before a set period has elapsed.

Following this report, respected Ferrari journalist Leo Turrini “wouldn’t be surprised” if a deal has already been struck for Binotto to take the reins at Alpine, adding that “great things” could be on the horizon for him there.

“In France they say Binotto already has the agreement with Alpine. I wouldn’t be surprised,” Turrini wrote for Quotidiano.

“I have known Mattia for almost 30 years. He’s a great guy, perhaps undermined by an excess of self-esteem. He had the Ferrari GP [team] in his hands for a few years, it was his dream come true.

“If he finds in De Meo a mentor and if he learns to listen more, he could do great things.” recommends

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When asked directly at Spa whether or not Binotto would be considered for the position at Spa, Alpine vice president of motorsports Bruno Famin, who has temporarily taken on team principal duties after Szafnauer’s departure, did not rule his name out entirely.

He told media including in Belgium when asked about Binotto as a candidate: “Well, we are not at that stage.

“I’m going to, with all my direct report assets, [ask] what is the situation think about what are the priorities in Enstone to consolidate the things, and we will define if we need a new structure or not – and when that will be done, we will see.”

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