Binotto had found himself at the center of the F1 rumor mill on the eve of the season finale in Abu Dhabi when rumors emerged that Ferrari were lining up Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur to replace him.
Ferrari moved quickly to deny the story, with Binotto and the team’s drivers repeatedly playing down talk of a switch over the Abu Dhabi weekend.
However, the case does not seem to have gone away and an article in a well-connected Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Friday hinted that Binotto was about to announce his resignation.
The stories suggested that negotiations were underway between Binotto and Ferrari’s senior management to agree the terms of his exit. It has been suggested that an official squad announcement could be made as early as Friday.
Ferrari said on Friday there was nothing “official” to say about it.
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 chairman John Elkann.
It was as recently as the Italian GP that Elkann decided to dismiss any talk that Binotto’s place at Ferrari was under threat following his failure to put on a better challenge against Red Bull this season.
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However, he made it clear that the team needed to correct the critical errors that had cost him valuable points this season.
“We have great confidence in Mattia Binotto and appreciate everything he and all of our engineers have done, but there is no doubt that the work at Maranello, in the garage, on the pit wall and behind the wheel needs improvement.” , Elkann said. Gazzetta dello Sport.
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
“We have to keep improving 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 there are still too many errors in terms of reliability, driving and strategy.
“Trusting Binotto and his team was the right decision and it paid off. Thanks to them, we are competitive and we are winning again. But I’m not satisfied because I think we can always do better.”
In Abu Dhabi last weekend, Binotto said he had again received assurances from Elkann about his future following Vasseur’s stories.
“Obviously when this speculation came out I had a conversation with my chairman, John Elkann,” Binotto said.
“We discussed openly the best way to move forward. We decided to issue a statement, this was perhaps the best way to end any speculation. Clearly there is speculation, totally without foundation.”
It’s unclear if things have changed since the Abu Dhabi GP, where Ferrari achieved its weekend goals of securing second place in the constructors’ championship, with Charles Leclerc securing second place.
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Binotto has been a mainstay at Ferrari, having originally joined the team in 1995 and rising through the ranks to become team principal in early 2019 replacing Maurizio Arrivabene.
If Binotto’s exit from Ferrari is confirmed, it will leave the team searching for a replacement ahead of a critical winter where they want to step up to progress on the right path in 2023.
Vasseur is a logical target, but another option could be making Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna a temporary replacement to oversee things as the team focuses on next year’s challenger.