Mattia Binotto reflects on Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari ‘failure’ and decision to axe him

Jamie Woodhouse
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, with his hand to his head. Hockenheim. Germany July 2018

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel with his hand to his head after crashing out at Hockenheim. Germany July 2018

Mattia Binotto has explained why he agrees that Sebastian Vettel failed with Ferrari, and the difficulty of the decision to let him go.

Vettel left Red Bull at the end of 2014 to join Ferrari, the four-time World Champion looking to put a poor 2014 campaign behind him by re-joining the title fight with Ferrari.

Vettel’s best opportunities came and went in 2017 and 2018 though, and ahead of the 2020 campaign, he was informed that would be his last with the team.

Regarding his stint at Ferrari, Vettel has previously referred to it as a failure, since he did not achieve his aim of adding another World Championship to his CV and thus put Ferrari back atop the Formula 1 mountain.

Binotto agrees with Vettel’s assessment, though stressed that it was not just Vettel who failed, it was team and driver together.

“I think he is somehow right because when he joined Ferrari, he was ambitious, his objective was to win the title with Ferrari and I think together with himself, it was our dream and our objective as well,” Binotto told media personnel, including PlanetF1 in Abu Dhabi.

“So it has been a failure for him but it has been a failure all together as a team. He has been very close, or at least the closest he has been was ‘17 and ’18 so we had a few opportunities, but we didn’t get it and I think somehow when your final objective is to do that and if you do not achieve it, it’s a failure.”

There is certainly no ill-feeling at all though between Ferrari and Vettel, Binotto confirming that Vettel, who retired from Formula 1 following the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, remains someone who is loved throughout the organisation.

And that is why Binotto reflects on the moment where he told Vettel that Ferrari were letting him go as the hardest of his career.

“First, Sebastian is a great, great driver and I don’t think it’s myself telling it, it’s really what he has achieved – fantastic, outstanding, amazing,” said Binotto.

“And somehow, as Ferrari, we have been lucky to have him as part of the team and it has been six important years.

“He brought a lot as a driver but more than that, I think he brought a lot as a person and each single Ferrari fan still loves Sebastian. I think that’s a matter of fact. And as each single fan loves Ferrari still, I think we in Ferrari, all the people in Ferrari, are still loving him and that’s the way we are feeling. They have been incredible years, I think.

“Difficult for myself, coming to the end, somehow to announce to him that we will not renew. And that maybe has been the most difficult task I’ve done myself through my career. Because when you love such a person and you really enjoy working with him, it’s always difficult to come to the end and take a decision somehow to announce it.

“So I think it has been an important moment as well for my career itself, because from that… through difficulties you become stronger. But it’s the one that we will remember as the most difficult one.”

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