Why Mattia Binotto left Ferrari F1 team and who could replace him

Scuderia Ferrari F1 announced this morning that team principal Mattia Binotto will leave at the end of the year.

In an announcement on their website, the Italian brand confirmed that they had accepted the Italian’s resignation. Ferrari CEO, Benedetto Vigna, thanked Binotto for his near-30 years of service.

“I would like to thank Mattia for his many great contributions over 28 years with Ferrari and particularly for leading the team back to a position of competitiveness during this past year,” read the statement. “As a result, we are in a strong position to renew our challenge, above all for our amazing fans, to win the ultimate prize in motorsport.

“Everyone here at the Scuderia and the Ferrari community wishes Mattia well for the future.”

Alongside the team announcement, Mattia Binotto gave a statement of his own.

“With the regret that this entails, I have decided to conclude my collaboration with Ferrari,” he said, via BBC Sport. “It is right to take this step, as hard as this decision has been for me.

“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. I wish them all the best for the future.”

But why has Binotto decided to leave?

Mattia Binotto leaves Ferrari: why this has happened

Despite building Ferrari’s first race-winning car since 2019, the Scuderia received heavy criticism for multiple problems. And, in his role as Principal, these failings ultimately lie at the feet of Binotto.

The Scuderia started the 2022 season with two wins from three and a real chance of challenging for both titles. However, reliability and strategy issues ripped apart their season.

For instance, mechanical DNFs for Charles Leclerc in Spain and Azerbaijan cost the Ferrari driver two likely wins. Similarly, Carlos Sainz suffered multiple retirements from podium positions, such as in Austria and Azerbaijan.

Questionable strategic calls then served to make matters worse. A bad pit-stop timing cost Leclerc a win at his home race in Monaco, as did poor tyre choices in Hungary and Silverstone. In sum, Ferrari left a lot of championship points on the table through their own doing.

For now, it appears that Mattia Binotto is the man who will make way for Ferrari to reset for 2023. So, who will replace him?

Potential Binotto replacements

Unfortunately for the Scuderia, one of their early leading options has apparently already ruled himself out. Former F1 Managing Director Ross Brawn was touted as the successor for Binotto, but he now appears unlikely.

Many wanted Brawn to return to Ferrari; he was the technical director during Michael Schumacher’s dominant run of championships from 2000-2004. Despite reports suggesting that he is on the shortlist, Brawn himself has distanced himself from a return to the pit wall.

In his last column for F1, Brawn said that the time was right for him to retire. He added: “I’d moved away from wanting to be part of a team – I’d done enough of that!

“I will now watch F1 from my sofa, cheering and cursing as a fan, pleased that the sport is in a fantastic place.”

As a result, many insiders’ top candidate is now Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur. Earlier this month, Ferrari had to deny reports that they were sacking Binotto for Vasseur – but now he may replace the Italian anyway.

In Charles Leclerc’s case, this could be great. The Monegasque worked with Vasseur during his debut F1 season at Alfa Romeo back in 2018. Additionally, News 24 says that the Frenchman prefers his team to have a clear 1-2 driver hierarchy – where he would likely choose Leclerc as his number one.

Carlos Sainz would not be so pleased about such a development, though.

Featured image credit: Getty