Mattia Binotto: Not down to me to decide whether I remain Ferrari team boss

Thomas Maher
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina, November 2022.

Ferrari's Mattia Binotto at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina, November 2022.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto couldn’t state for sure whether he’ll still be in his role by the time the 2023 season rolls around.

Rumours have recently emerged about Mattia Binotto’s tenure as team boss at the Scuderia, with Italian media suggesting that current Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur could be in line to replace Binotto in his position at the Gestione Sportiva.

While Ferrari returned to winning ways in 2022 at the start of the new ground-effect era, Charles Leclerc’s title bid stumbled and fell apart through a series of reliability and strategic errors – exacerbated by Ferrari falling off the pace in the latter half of the season.

Following Ferrari’s latest faux pas, as Charles Leclerc was sent out on full wet tyres onto a dry track in qualifying in Brazil – much to his frustration – Binotto was quizzed about the rumours regarding his position.

“Obviously, it is not down to me to decide,” he said, when asked by PlanetF1 in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix press conference.

“But I’m pretty relaxed. The reason why I’m relaxed is that I will always have open, frank and constructive discussions with my bosses, [Ferrari] chairman [John Elkann] – not only in the short term, but the medium and the long term.

“More than that, I think if I look back at the season, yes there are a few ups and downs. We are not today the fastest car on the track, but I think we achieved our main objective, which was to be back – to be competitive in the era of the 2022 cars.

“If I look at the way we started the season, noone would have ever imagined Ferrari to be so fast at the start of the season.

“That is proof the team has worked very well through difficult moments in 2020/21. We remained united. I think it’s a team which is not only working well, but has proved to be capable. There are still a lot of things that need to progress. Weaknesses have been shown.

“But I’m pretty sure that, as we did in the past, we will review and try to address them. The team back at the factory will focus on 2023, try to improve.

“Furthermore, I think this season has been outstanding in terms of pole positions for qualifying, pace is not as good in terms of race pace. We know that we need somehow to improve.

“Furthermore, strategy or whatever is around it, is easier if we have a strong car in the race itself. So yes, I’m relaxed, and more than that, I’m really focused on what we need to do and concentrated with the team.”

With Ferrari having released a statement to address the situation earlier in the week leading up to Abu Dhabi, Binotto said it was a decision taken after conversations between himself and Elkann.

“When there is such a big passion around [a team], there is always certainly criticism as well,” he said.

“A lot of criticism and rumours – that has been true in the past.

“So obviously, when speculation came out, I had a chat with my chairman, we discussed openly what was the best way to move forward. We decided to release a statement – maybe the best way to close any speculations and clearly those are speculations with no foundations.

“I think for me, right now, what’s the most important is the focus on the race weekend and the team not to be distracted. The rumours are always there about Ferrari and it’s more important not to be distracted by that.”

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