Some will defend Mattia Binotto because of the progress Ferrari has made under him, because some of Ferrari’s shortcomings aren’t his fault and because he’s inevitably another victim of the political drama synonymous with this team.
Mattia Binotto has resigned from his position as Ferrari Formula 1 boss and will formally leave the team at the end of December.
Intense speculation that Ferrari was preparing for Binotto’s exit was emphatically rejected by the team in the build-up to the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
But, just over a week since the season ended, Ferrari has confirmed Binotto will leave the team.
Ferrari began 2022 by winning in Bahrain and led both championships early on, but its title challenges crumbled due to a mix of poor reliability, strategic mistakes, driver errors and poor development.
It failed to win a race after the summer break and despite scoring 12 pole positions, more than any other team, ended the year with just four victories.
Chairman John Elkann gave Binotto a public vote of confidence back in September but also said the entire team “including the team principal” needed to improve.
At the end of the season, speculation mounted in Italy and France that Ferrari was preparing to replace Binotto with Sauber boss Fred Vasseur, which led to a public denial from Ferrari before the Abu Dhabi season finale.
But now it has emerged Binotto offered his resignation from Ferrari, a company he has spent his entire career with since joining in 1995 as an engine engineer in the test team.
Ferrari has accepted his resignation and he will leave on December 31.
“With the regret that this entails, I have decided to conclude my collaboration with Ferrari,” said Binotto.
“I am leaving a company that I love, which I have been part of for 28 years, with the serenity that comes from the conviction that I have made every effort to achieve the objectives set.
“I leave a united and growing team. A strong team, ready, I’m sure, to achieve the highest goals, to which I wish all the best for the future.
“I think it is right to take this step at this time as hard as this decision has been for me.”
A change of leadership is always the most impactful way to tackle problems as far as the public perception is concerned. But what really matters is that any such switch is based in sound reasoning rather than scapegoating and blood-letting.
What must be avoided is the football team mentality whereby a manager is the lightning rod for all criticism and their removal a panacea. Ferrari certainly needs to sharpen up but the key question was what was Binotto’s role in the failure to do so?
As the team principal, he is by definition responsible. But what really matters is that the prevailing institutional weaknesses are tackled. Sometimes, a change of leadership can be seen as a means unto itself. But for Ferrari to have a chance of winning a championship any time soon, it must be a means to an end.
If Binotto alone truly was an obstacle to the necessary reforms, his departure is the right move. If not – and it’s more likely he would only have been part of the problem – it’s essential him stepping down is just part of the solution rather than its totality.
What matters now is Ferrari replaces him with the right long-term option to achieve genuine stability that will allow F1’s most famous team to stop underachieving.
|2023 F1 Car Launches|
|Red Bull||RB19||03 February|
|Alfa Romeo||C43||07 February|
|Aston Martin||AMR23||13 February|
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