Mattia Binotto shouldn’t look to Mercedes for a new job: Too much porcelain broken

Michelle Foster
Mattia Binotto and Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff. Baku, June 2022.

Ferrari's Mattia Binotto looks at Mercedes' Toto Wolff as he answers a question. Baku, June 2022.

Mattia Binotto needn’t bother knocking on Toto Wolff’s door for job, the Mercedes motorsport boss saying there was “too much porcelain broken between us” to make it possible.

Handed the reins at Ferrari in 2019, the Scuderia’s team boss butted heads with Wolff on several occasions with the most notable being the engine scandal that season.

As Ferrari’s much-improved 2019 engine raised eyebrows, rivals accusing the Italian team of “cheating” with the FIA launching an investigation that led to a Technical Directives being issued regarding fuel flow and oil burning.

Ferrari’s engine lost power and the Scuderia – as well as its customer teams – suffered as a result.

Two years later Wolff spoke of how his own engine department had been “pushed to the limits in 2019, trying to catch up to the benchmark power unit that was Ferrari.”

He added: “I would say at certain stages, overstretched into unhealthy territory.”

That, though, was just one issue they had during their years together as rival team bosses, that rivalry ruling Binotto out of a possible job at Mercedes.

“No,” Wolff told the ‘Beyond The Grid’ podcast when asked if Binotto could join the Silver Arrows, “I think there was too much porcelain broken between us the last two years that this would be possible.

“With the other teams, I can’t say.

“But certainly Mattia understands Formula 1 inside out, and yeah, maybe he finds a role in another team.”

Mercedes have in the past signed former Ferrari team members such as Aldo Costa and James Allison.

Ferrari are now searching for their fifth team boss since Wolff joined Mercedes in 2013.

Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur is reportedly leading the running, some reports even claiming the deal has been done and that Ferrari will announce it later this month.

Asked who he believed would fit the role, Wolff said it was “very difficult to judge.”

“You need to understand motor racing, maybe more than just Formula 1,” he added.

“But it’s such a niche where the sport, the regulations, the governing body, the commercial rights holder, the competitors, all of us are basically locked in this paddock cage. You need to be politically astute.

“It’s a very niche, specialist environment. The more you know about the sport, the better it is. But you don’t want to be a one-trick pony either.

“You can be a good racing manager, and not understand about anything that’s going on commercially or outside in the world.”

It has been claimed Ferrari approached Christian Horner and Andreas Seidl last year already while Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger also turned them down.

Read more: Mattia Binotto ‘held on’ to Ferrari job longer than Toto Wolff expected