Binotto found himself at the center of F1’s rumor mill on the eve of the season finale in Abu Dhabi, when stories emerged that Ferrari was lining up Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur to replace him.
However, Ferrari moved quickly to deny the story, with Binotto and the team’s drivers repeatedly downplaying rumors of a change over the weekend in Abu Dhabi.
However, the case does not seem to have disappeared and a report in well-regarded Italian newspapers Corriere della Sera on Friday suggested that Binotto was about to announce his resignation.
The stories suggested negotiations were underway between Binotto and Ferrari’s senior management to agree the terms of his departure. It was suggested that a formal announcement from the team could be made as early as Friday.
Ferrari said on Friday that there was nothing “official” to say on the matter.
Corriere della Sera claimed that Binotto had come to the conclusion that he should not continue at Ferrari because he did not feel he had the full confidence of President John Elkann.
It wasn’t until the Italian GP that Elkann decided to dismiss any rumors that Binotto’s place at Ferrari was in jeopardy, having been unable to mount a better challenge against Red Bull this season.
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However, he made a clear point by suggesting that the side needed to iron out critical mistakes that had cost them valuable points this season.
“We have great confidence in Mattia Binotto and appreciate everything he and all our engineers have done, but there is no doubt that the work in Maranello, in the garage, on the pit wall and on the steering wheel needs to be improved,” said Elkann . Gazzetta dello Sport.
Mattia Binotto, team principal Ferrari
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar/Motorsport Images
“We have to keep making progress and that goes for the mechanics, the engineers, the drivers and of course the whole management team, including the team principal.
“We have seen that too many mistakes are still being made when it comes to reliability, handling and strategy.
“Our confidence in Binotto and his team was the right decision and it paid off. Thanks to them we are competitive and we win again. But I am not satisfied because I think we can always do better.”
In Abu Dhabi last weekend, Binotto said he had received assurances from Elkann again about his future in the wake of the Vasseur stories.
“Obviously when this speculation came out, I had a conversation with my chairman, John Elkann,” Binotto said.
“We openly discussed the best way to proceed. We decided that releasing a statement might be the best way to shut down any speculation. Clearly there is speculation, totally baseless.”
It is unclear if things have changed since the Abu Dhabi GP, where Ferrari achieved its weekend goals by securing second place in the Constructors’ Championship, while Charles Leclerc secured second.
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Binotto is a fixed value at Ferrari. He originally joined the team in 1995 and worked his way through the ranks to become team principal in early 2019, replacing Maurizio Arrivabene.
If Binotto’s departure from Ferrari is confirmed, the team will be left looking for a replacement ahead of a critical winter as it looks to take a step towards progressing on track in 2023.
Vasseur is a logical target, but another option could be to temporarily replace Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna to oversee things as the team focuses on next year’s challenger.