While Ferrari took a step up in 2022 and finished runners-up in both championships – their best result since 2018 – the year was not without its disappointments.
And in particular, Ferrari found itself in the firing line after seeing a series of potential wins blighted by unreliability, strategy errors or driver errors.
Reflecting on the events of the 2022 campaign, Binotto said it had been eye-opening, especially in dealing with pressures from abroad.
“It’s certainly been difficult because criticism is never easy to handle,” he said.
“And more than that, I think for me, somehow [I needed to] try to keep the team focused and on task.
“Criticism is there to distract a team, and keeping a team focused is never easy. It’s been hard, but I think that will make me stronger in the future.”
“I know we have to count only on ourselves. That’s the biggest lesson of the season.”
Binotto has been at the center of speculation about his own future, with reports in Italy ahead of the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi suggesting he could be sacked over the winter.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Erik Junius
The stories, which suggested that Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur was being chosen to replace him, were strongly denied by Ferrari.
But while the 2022 campaign has had its difficulties, the team has come a long way in recent years and those at the center insisted their spirit remained strong.
Charles Leclerc, who finished runner-up in the drivers’ championship this year, made it clear in Abu Dhabi that the focus within the team remained on taking the final step to be on top.
“Obviously, when we are coming to the end of the season, there are always voices around us,” Leclerc said. “But I think as a team we really need to focus on our work and along the way try to extract all the things that are going on around the team.”
“People tend to forget what a big step we’ve taken from last year to this year. There’s definitely another step we have to make, but I’m sure we’ll all do it together.”
Binotto himself fully accepts that Ferrari needs to do a better job in 2023, and believes that the key to achieving his goals is to produce a more reliable and faster car.
Asked what was the main improvement Ferrari needed to make from the 2022 campaign, Binotto said: “I don’t think there is just one, because in the end, our ups and downs came from different areas.
“The first thing, reliability, I would put that as a top priority, because to win, you have to be reliable. It hasn’t been the case this season.”
“The second is the speed of the car, because while we have been very competitive in qualifying, it hasn’t always been that way in the race. And our race pace, whether it was tire degradation or pure race pace, was not enough”. to fight for a better position.
“I think these are both because, if you have a fast and reliable car, then yes, you can make mistakes in strategies, in pit stops, which you can always make up for by the fact that the car itself is fast and reliable. “. .
“So that’s where we need to put our effort, knowing that still, the ups and downs are also strategies, and maybe different calls we’ve made on the race weekend. But we’ll also review and improve for sure.”