Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto admits F1 changes needed and Mercedes fear as he responds to chairman
Mattia Binotto has responded to Ferrari chairman John Elkann's insertion that the Scuderia need to improve to win titles again; Binotto also sat down with Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle at the Italian GP to discuss what changes need to be made
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 15/09/22 10:18am
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has accepted his team needs to improve and make changes if they are to win titles again, admitting a "painful" finish behind Mercedes is only possible because of too many mistakes.
Binotto, in one of F1's most pressurised roles, has overseen the huge jump in performance from 2021 to 2022 on the track, but also the blunders that have ultimately scuppered Ferrari's championship bid.
Over the Italian GP weekend, Ferrari chairman John Elkann gave a rare interview in which he said he had "great faith" in Binotto but also stressed he was not satisfied with their season after falling well behind Red Bull.
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Responding, Binotto said he was "fully aware" of the task ahead.
"If we look at the current season, we know there are still steps which are required to be in the position to win a championship," he stated.
"Ferrari has done an enormous development from last season to this one. You need to look back many years to see such a big development.
"Overall the team did a fantastic job in developing the current car, but still there are situations [that need improving].
"The reliability - because the reliability cost us at least a couple of victories and in order to win championships you need to reliable. Race management - strategy and pit stops areas of improvement are required.
"I think during the race weekend you may always do mistakes. I think being perfect is almost impossible, you need to take decision on the pit wall, but we need to be the best."
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are currently second and fifth in the drivers' standings, and Max Verstappen can claim the championship as early as the next race in Singapore.
The changes needed and the Mercedes fear
One of the criticisms labelled at Binotto and Ferrari this season is their unwillingness to change despite a catalogue of operational errors, which have made beating Red Bull Max Verstappen to the titles all but impossible.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle at Monza, Binotto admitted: "We do not need to change people, but we certainly need to change some things.
"The way we are communicating, the way we are getting to the process of making our decisions.. changes are required.
Ferrari's mounting list of errors in 2022
|Spanish GP||Charles Leclerc||DNF||Engine failure|
|Monaco GP||Charles Leclerc||4th||Ferrari strategy (pitted too late, slow stop)|
|Azerbaijan GP||Charles Leclerc||DNF||Engine failure|
|Azerbaijan GP||Carlos Sainz||DNF||Engine failure|
|Canadian GP||Charles Leclerc||5th||Engine penalty|
|British GP||Charles Leclerc||4th||Ferrari strategy (left out on old tyres after Safety Car)|
|Austrian GP||Carlos Sainz||DNF||Engine failure|
|French GP||Carlos Sainz||5th||Ferrari strategy (missed out on potential podium after late stop)|
|Hungarian GP||Charles Leclerc||6th||Ferrari strategy (led before changing to slow hard tyres)|
|Belgian GP||Charles Leclerc||6th||Ferrari strategy (pitted to go for fastest lap but dropped a place)|
|Dutch GP||Carlos Sainz||8th||Ferrari errors (slow pit-stop, unsafe release penalty)|
"Adding value may be necessary, adding people as well. But changing people is not a path I want to go through, that's an old way of addressing issues."
Such has been Ferrari's struggles, they are now much closer to Mercedes in the standings (35 points ahead) than Red Bull (139 points behind) - a scenario which seemed impossible earlier in their year given their start.
Asked by Brundle how finishing behind Mercedes would feel, Binotto said "it will be painful".
"For the result, for the way we started the season, because I think it will prove that we have not been good enough in improving the car through the season," he said. "And that there have been too many mistakes.
"But we are ahead and our intentions are to keep ahead."
What Elkann said and Binotto's title aim
"We have great faith in Mattia Binotto and appreciate everything he and all our engineers have done," Elkann told the Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of Ferrari's home race.
"But there is no doubt that the work in Maranello, in the garage, on the pit wall and at the wheel needs to improve.
"We must continue to make progress and that goes for the mechanics, the engineers, the drivers and obviously, the entire management team, including the team principal.
"Putting our trust in Binotto and his team was the right decision and it has paid off. Thanks to them we are competitive and winning again. But I am not satisfied because I think we can always do better.
"We have seen that there are still too many mistakes when it comes to reliability, driving and strategy.
"That's why I believe that before 2026 Ferrari will once again win the constructors' and drivers' titles, with Charles Leclerc in pole position."
Asked more about the comments - and specifically about whether aiming for a title before 2026 was actually a pessimistic aim - Binotto said he was looking to end a trophy drought that has lasted 24 years much sooner than that.
"I think it's more managing as far as the expectations," added Binotto.
"But more than that, I think what he said precisely it's 'before 2026'. so from now to 2026.
"No doubt that the ambition of the team is to do it as soon as possible."