Chandhok: ‘Ferrari should’ve retained Mattia Binotto to work alongside Fred Vasseur’

Michelle Foster
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto and Frederic Vasseur in discussion. April 2022

Mattia Binotto and Frederic Vasseur in discussion. April 2022

Ferrari should have retained Mattia Binotto as the man in charge of technical and factory and brought Fred Vasseur to lead the sporting side of the F1 team.

That’s according to former F1 driver turned commentator Karun Chandhok.

Last year Binotto paid the price from Ferrari’s undignified fall from grace, the Scuderia going from championship leaders to being the brunt of many a joke.

Their season imploded with multiple strategy blunders and reliability issues alongside driver errors, the team finishing a distant runner-up in both championships.

That, though, was still an improvement on the previous two seasons, Chandhok crediting Binotto for Ferrari’s revival.

As such, he doesn’t believe Ferrari should have accepted the Italian’s resignation.

“I personally think they should’ve kept Binotto but in a slightly different role,” he said in Autosport’s ‘Karun Chandhok’s Big Questions 2023’ podcast, “because from an R&D [research and development] and power unit standpoint, which is actually his background in the company, they did a superb job.

“If you look at the PU they had at Alfa and Haas, they made a big step forward, and I think he had a lot to offer still to the team.

“From what I understand he tried very, very hard to create a no-blame culture. The old school Ferrari thing ‘right you got this wrong, you’re off’ on a Monday, he wanted to get away from that culture and get people to work without the fear of losing their jobs.

“Which is fine but you’ve still got to hold them accountable when they don’t do their chore properly. Perhaps he suffered the price for trying to protect all the people around him and instead he’s the one who’s taken the blame.

“Yes he has to shoulder some blame. Do I think he should he have stayed at the team, I do.”

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The Sky Sports pundit reckons Binotto could have shared the driving duties with new Ferrari team boss Vasseur, each put in charge of a different section of the Italian team.

“Could he have worked alongside Fred Vasseur as one in charge of technical and factory and the other in charge of sporting and trackside, possibly,” he continued. “But we’ll never find out.”

Asked whether that structure could work, Chandhok believes it would at a team such as Ferrari as they are “different” to any of the other teams.

“I think Ferrari is not a normal team, Ferrari is unique,” he explained.

“Culturally they are a very different organisation, the people who work at the team are unlike any other team geographically.

“I think Ferrari is different and having someone like Binotto who had been there for so long and understands the deep-rooted culture mindset of the workforce is beneficial.”

Binotto has yet to reveal what’s next on the cards with both Red Bull and Mercedes ruling out signing the Italian.

While Toto Wolff says “here is too much porcelain broken between us”, Christian Horner has said “there’s no place for him” at Red Bull.