Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto did well to last for four years as team principal at Ferrari, says Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.
“I think Mattia and I had our moments, it’s no secret, over these many years,” Wolff said. “But in a way, we consolidated that in 2022. We were in a much, much better place.
“But it was always clear that he was under tremendous pressure. Being a team principal at Ferrari, you better have a good contract for your exit. Now probably the unavoidable happened, but he held onto it longer than I thought.”
Binotto first assumed the position of team principal in January 2019, and Ferrari came second in the constructors’ championship in his first campaign in charge. In 2020 the team suffered its worst season for 40 years, then rebounded to third place in 2021 and second place in 2022, which marked the first time the team had outscored Mercedes over a season since 2012.
Wolff said that there is “absolutely” more pressure in taking on the team principal role at the Italian team than any other F1 constructor.
“You’re representing Ferrari, you’re representing the whole country. And [the media] write you up, they write you down, but with brutality. So certainly team principal of Ferrari is probably [harder] as an Italian even more, because as a foreigner you just don’t read the news, but as an Italian clearly you’re in the firing line.”
No replacement has been announced since Binotto’s resignation just over a week ago. Wolff believes there must be a suitable talent to take his place within Italy, even if it is someone without direct F1 experience.
“It’s very difficult to judge, because what I said before is there must be Italian managerial talent, even in other industries, that have power and intelligence to manage such a team and kind of never someone resurfaced,” he replied. “Which I don’t understand until today.”
To be a F1 team principal, particularly at Ferrari “you need to be politically astute” and “the more you know about the sport, the better it is,” said Wolff.
However he doesn’t believe there is a possibility for Binotto to join Mercedes given the past tensions between the pair.
“I think there was too much porcelain broken between us over the last two years that this would be possible. With the other teams I can’t say but certainly Mattia understands F1 inside out and maybe he finds a role in another team.”
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