Toto Wolff has stated that the soon to be former Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto “held on” to his job longer than the Mercedes man expected.
After increasing speculation, it was announced at the end of November that Binotto was to step down as Ferrari team principal at the end of 2022 having been promoted from chief technical officer in 2019.
Binotto leaves having guided Ferrari back to winning ways, but ultimately felt the need to fall on his sword given the frequent self-implosions and the team’s falling away in the Championship fight against Red Bull.
As the search begins for his successor, Mercedes’ team principal Wolff, a man whose job has never been under threat during his tenure, has been reflecting on the soon to be former Ferrari man and said that Binotto had “held on” longer than he had thought he would.
“Mattia and I had our moments, it’s no secret over these many years,” Wolff told the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“But in a way we consolidated that in 2022, we were in a much better place.
“It was always clear that he was under tremendous pressure. Being a team principal at Ferrari, you better have a good contract for your exit. And now probably the unavoidable happened.
“But he held on to it longer than I thought.”
Wolff admitted that there was more pressure on the Ferrari boss than on any other team principal and suggested that when you represent Ferrari, “you’re representing the whole country.”
“They ride you up, they ride you down, but with brutality,” Wolff said.
“So certainly team principal of Ferrari [there is more pressure], probably as an Italian even more, because as a foreigner you just don’t read the news.
“But as an Italian, clearly you are in the firing line.”
Just as Christian Horner ruled himself out of the job, Wolff has done similar but admitted that if he had been approached before he joined Mercedes, it would have been hard to turn Ferrari down.
“Everybody who says he wouldn’t have been interested in being team principal of Ferrari just simply doesn’t tell the truth,” said Wolff.
“I have to pinch myself that Daimler gave me the opportunity of becoming a managing partner and co-shareholder. It’s something that I feel tremendously proud of.
“But equally if Ferrari would have come around the corner, miraculously offered me such a position, it would have been the same.”