Mattia Binotto: Ferrari team principal departed because second is 'not enough', says Stefano Domenicali
Mattia Binotto announced his resignation as Ferrari team principal after three seasons in charge of the Italian team; Binotto came under heavy pressure after a disappointing second half of the 2022 campaign saw Ferrari finish a distant second to Red Bull
Last Updated: 01/12/22 12:18pm
Mattia Binotto left Ferrari because finishing second is "not enough" for the Italian team, according to F1 chief and former Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali.
Ferrari announced on Tuesday that Binotto's three-year reign as team principal of Formula 1's most popular team will come to an end after he handed in his resignation, following heavy speculation that the 53-year-old would be sacked.
Ferrari appeared to be in contention to end its long wait for titles after a strong start to the 2022 season, but failed to win any of the final 11 races of the campaign amid a loss of performance, and finished a distant second to Red Bull in the constructors' championship.
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"When you are second with Ferrari, it is something that is not enough," Domenicali told Sky Sports News on Wednesday at the launch of new F1 Arcade in central London.
"I don't want to get into the dynamic of the team, for sure I want to wish him the best for his future."
Binotto will leave his role on December 31 while the team expect to appoint his replacement early in 2023, and Sky Sports News understands Frederic Vassuer, boss of the Ferrari-linked Alfa Romeo, will join.
While the Italian team ultimately did not have the pace to compete with Red Bull, the combination of reliability issues and repeated strategy errors saw Binotto come under pressure, with rumours surfacing ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi that he would be dismissed.
At the time, Ferrari said reports that Binotto would be sacked were "totally without foundation", but less than two weeks after that denial, the team released a statement confirming his departure.
"I was in the same situation or position many years ago and I want to wish him to stay focused and believe in himself," said Domenicali, who was Ferrari team principal from 2008-2014.
"And of course, on the other hand, I hope that Ferrari find the right solution to stay on track because they did a big recovery from where they were two years ago.
"We need Ferrari to be competitive and we need to have a good team, strong team, strong drivers to fight against the others so that is really the wish I am hoping for."
Domenicali, who has just completed his second season as chief executive of F1, says he is optimistic that Ferrari can be part of a three-way contest for the title with Red Bull and Mercedes next season.
"Well that is the dream," Domenicali said. "It is not a dream, it is more than a dream, I think it will happen.
"I am sure there will be more teams to fight for the first position and also to fight for other positions.
"The aim and the hope is to have the last race with the right fight, the right sporting fight and all the provisos are there.
"I am pretty sure everyone is waiting for the first race in Bahrain."
Hakkinen doubts Leclerc impact on Binotto departure
Former world champion Mika Hakkinen says he doubts whether a personal conflict between Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Binotto led to the latter's departure.
There has been speculation that Leclerc, who appeared to be in championship contention early in the season before his challenge to Max Verstappen faded, wanted Binotto to leave.
However, Hakkinen, who won his world championships in 1998 and 1999, says respecting someone's work is far more important than whether you get on with them.
"I don't know about that," Hakkinen told Sky Sports News. "I always thought when I was racing, it's not a question about whether you like somebody, it's a question of how good they are, how committed they are, how intelligent, how clever they are - that's what matters.
"It doesn't matter whether you like them or not. That doesn't interfere with your success.
"You have to work in a team, you have to respect the people's talent, knowledge, their commitment to the sport, so I doubt it's a true story.
"It's very sad, I think he (Binotto) is a great personality, a great guy.
"Formula 1 is a very complicated sport, it requires three, four extremely talented people to run the team, to make a success. It's not just one man or one woman who can run the team.
"It requires a number of individuals - different characters, different talents to be able to add and contribute to the team's success."