Mattia Binotto will step down as head of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team and managing director of the company’s sports division, according to reports in Italy.
After the team emphatically dismissed intense speculation that Ferrari was lining up to replace Binotto in the build-up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, Binotto is reportedly negotiating his exit just days after the end of the season anyway.
The likelihood of his departure becoming official on Friday was first reported by Corriere della Sera, before being endorsed by La Gazzetta dello Sport and Sky Sports Italia.
Ferrari will not comment on “speculation” for now and The Race understands that no official communication is planned for Friday.
In what will now be Binotto’s final race in charge of the team last weekend, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc beat Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for second in the race and in the championship.
That marked a relative victory at the end of a season that didn’t live up to its promise from earlier in the year.
Ferrari started 2022 with victory in Bahrain and led both championships from the start as its focus on the new technical regulations gave it an early lead over Red Bull and Mercedes.
But Ferrari’s title challenges collapsed due to a combination of poor reliability, strategic missteps, driver error and mediocre development.
Ferrari failed to win a race after the summer break, and despite taking 12 pole positions, more than any other team, finished the year with just four wins.
The first sign of pressure on Binotto came before Ferrari’s home race in Italy in September, when chairman John Elkann gave him a public vote of confidence but also said the team needed to improve in all areas.
At the end of the season, speculation mounted in Italy and France that Ferrari was fielding Sauber boss Fred Vasseur, a longtime ally of Leclerc’s, who had managed the youngster in karting, GP3 and in his rookie season in F1, to replace Binotto.
Binotto was understood to have sought assurances from Elkann that this was not true and this prompted Ferrari to publicly deny those rumours.
But in the week after Abu Dhabi, fresh reports emerged that Binotto is definitely out, with suggestions of a break between him and Elkann and a reported desire from Leclerc’s camp for a change in leadership.
Leclerc is under contract with Ferrari until the end of 2025, but has been linked with a possible move away from the team after that.
Binotto has spent his entire career at Ferrari, first joining the organization in 1995 as an engine engineer as part of the test team.
He rose to the top position in the Ferrari engine ranks before becoming technical director in 2016 and three years later replaced Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal and managing director of Gestione Sportiva.
In his time at the helm of the team, Ferrari was embroiled in an engine controversy in 2019 that led to technical clarifications from the FIA and a major dip in form for Ferrari after two winless years.
The new 2022 regulations provided an opportunity for Ferrari to bounce back, which it largely did, though weaknesses clearly remain across the board.
Binotto’s leadership was meant to usher in a period of stability for Ferrari again and a move away from the politics that created a culture of fear and revolving-door politics for much of its history.
His reported departure would undermine that process and it remains to be seen if Ferrari has an immediate successor, such as Vasseur, in line to replace him.
In the meantime, Binotto’s responsibilities may be taken over in the short term by CEO Benedetto Vigna.
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