Mattia Binotto had been at the helm of Ferrari since 2019; the Italian team made a promising start to the 2022 season but failed to claim a win in the final 11 races of the campaign; Italian will leave role on December 31
Tuesday 29 November 2022 18:53, UK
Mattia Binotto has resigned as Ferrari team principal.
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.
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.
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 the 53-year-old's departure.
It brings a three-year reign at the head of Formula 1's most famous team, as well as a 28-year career in total, to an end.
"With the regret that this entails, I have decided to conclude my collaboration with Ferrari," said Binotto, who had previously insisted he was going to stay for 2023.
"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.
"I would like to thank all the people at the Gestione Sportiva who have shared this journey with me, made up of difficulties but also of great satisfaction."
Ferrrai CEO Benedetto Vigna added: "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.
"As a result, we are in a strong position to renew our challenge, above all for our amazing fans around the world, to win the ultimate prize in motorsport. Everyone here at the Scuderia and in the wider Ferrari community wishes Mattia well for the future."
After the news of Binotto's departure was made public, Charles Leclerc took to social media to pen a tribute to his former boss, thanking his team principal for "everything" in an "intense" four years spent together.
"Thank you for everything, Mattia," Leclerc said.
"We spent four very intense years together, full of great satisfaction and also, inevitably, moments that tested us.
"My esteem and respect for you have never diminished, and we have always worked with full dedication to achieve the same goals.
"Good luck for everything."
Binotto rose through the ranks at Ferrari, becoming head of the engine department in 2013 and then chief technical officer in 2016, before replacing Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal in 2019.
It was hoped that Binotto, a calmer presence than Arrivabene, would help Ferrari claim their first title since 2008.
Binotto's first year in charge was controversial, with Ferrari competitive - particularly in qualifying - but having also been involved in an engine scandal, reaching a settlement with the FIA after the season.
Ferrari changed tack in 2020 with a car design that spectacularly failed, enduring their worst season in four decades and then struggling in the midfield the following season, too, when Binotto made the decision to replace four-time champion Sebastian Vettel with Carlos Sainz.
2022 was the big goal for Binotto and his team with all-new rules and cars - and initially, it was a test passed.
Ferrari started the new season with the fastest car, overhauling Mercedes and battling Red Bull, and Charles Leclerc won two of the first three races to lead the championship early on.
But Ferrari started to throw away wins and points with mechanical failures and, more frustratingly, strategic mistakes. Pit-stop errors and incorrect choices became a theme of Ferrari's season and - even after Red Bull moved ahead of them with their car upgrades - it is those failures that may have cost Binotto his job.
Binotto has long-defended his team and long insisted that they are focusing on an improved 2023, although the internal and external pressure has now led to his resignation, and an opening as Ferrari's boss.
Sky Sports news' Craig Slater
"Ultimately [Binotto's sacking] is for the future direction of the team. Chairman John Elkann felt that he really wanted a more rigorous trackside team boss to take control of the operation. Ferrari got back into contention in 2022 but there were operational problems. There was a feeling that Binotto was not tough enough, or ruthless enough, to be the boss.
"Elkann is the chairman of Ferrari and he also sits atop the whole Fiat-Chrysler operation. He was the chosen heir to run this multi-industrial global business, and he's also at the head of the EXOR company, the parent company of Juventus.
"These changes at Juventus, you have to assume have been rubber-stamped by John Elkann. They are not linked, and there is no sense of any financial wrongdoing at Ferrari. But it is worth noting the cross-over of staff at executive level you have between Juventus and Ferrari. The current chief executive of Juventus, who is on his way out but will stay there in a caretaker role to transition of the appointment of the new board, is Maurizio Arrivabene, who was Binotto's predecessor as a team principal.
"My understanding is the new boss will be Fred Vasseur, who is currently boss of the Alfa Romeo team. I think that's the kind of individual Ferrari want.
"You may ask why not Toto Wolff or Christian Horner, but Ferrari have known for a number of years now that they won't be enticed away from their current positions. Wolff is a one third owner of Mercedes while Horner is chief executive as well as team principal at Red Bull and his role if anything is going to expand after the sad passing of the founder-owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
"I understand they weren't going to get Andreas Seidl away either from McLaren, but Fred Vasseur is almost certainly coming in the New Year. Ferrari didn't do too badly under a previous French boss, they had Jean Todt who won all those titles with Michael Schumacher. Maybe Vasseur will be the missing link.
"One thing with Ferrari, they change their team boss with such regularity that are they really following through with any long term planning? Will there be another reset, and will that set back Ferrari?"