Formula 1 | Ferrari: Binotto’s days ‘numbered’ after tension with Leclerc at Silverstone

Matteo Binotto’s hours at the wheel of Ferrari are numbered from the moment he had a rift with Charles Leclerc after the 2022 British Grand Prix, according to another former Scuderia boss.

During the Silverstone race, Monegasque, who was leading the event at the time, stayed on the track during the safety car period while all of his rivals fitted new tyres. But with worn hard tires, Leclerc could not fight and easily finished fourth.

It was team-mate Carlos Sainz who claimed his first Formula One success, with Binotto wagging the finger at Leclerc after the parc fermé race, with both men visibly tense after another botched Ferrari strategy last year.

“I think it all happened when Charles inexplicably stayed on the track after the restart of the British Grand Prix. He was the only one on the old tires and he had too many. He should have won that race.” said Peter Windsor, who managed the Italian team and also in the past Williams F1.

“Obviously he was attacking everyone, especially Mattia, I guess on the radio when he got out of the car in the park. Binotto then made a finger gesture to Charles Leclerc as if to say to him, ‘Don! ‘Don’t talk to me like that, I’m the boss here’.

“It wasn’t right. And at that moment, I must say, I thought, ‘this guy’s days are over,’ because in the face of such a force, there was no other way than the energy of Charles Leclerc, a good driver, to wag his finger and say to him, ‘With me. don’t talk like that’, especially if Leclerc is fired.”

Binotto’s ‘two main problems’ at Ferrari

Apart from the strategic and operational mistakes of 2022, Windsor believes Binotto paid for Ferrari’s power unit controversy in 2019.

“He was almost brought in as the interim team manager. He’s generally a very sweet person. You can go and talk to him, he’s a good guy and I think he’s a very caring person. But for me, he had two main faults.”

“The first one was obviously the engine drama, they were found to have cheated and ultimately it was his responsibility because he was in charge of these engines. Yet he kept his job, which is strange.”

“I think in retrospect you could probably say he kept his job because if Ferrari had sacked him it would have really been an admission that they cheated.

“The other issue is that the management control between the strategy group and the race performance group, including the drivers, was not really defined and there always seemed to be a disconnect.”

“Ferrari has a relatively young group of three engineers dealing with strategy and they have sometimes seemed to have too much power to overpower the race engineers, the classic example being the Hungarian Grand Prix. They continued Leclerc in 2022. hard tires.”

“I think maybe it was something that Binotto couldn’t sense or didn’t see. Or maybe there were enough people on his side last year that others weren’t really comfortable with his leadership and they were on the other side of the fence and probably , it was also piled up”.

“It was exacerbated by the fact that Binotto was closer to Carlos Sainz than Charles Leclerc. It was good for Sainz, but it was difficult and boring for Leclerc, who was actually, and in my opinion, the faster driver anyway.”

“He has a bigger vocabulary in terms of what he can do with the car, especially in race conditions and under pressure in the final moments of qualifying.

Vasseur has “very logical” team management

Windsor, on the other hand, is optimistic that Frédéric Vasseur has replaced Binotto at the helm of the Scuderia, and believes the Frenchman will fill the gaps in his new team unlike his predecessor.

“Now with Frédéric Vasseur, everything will be better. Freddy is smart enough to know how good Charles Leclerc is, I’m sure he will have a very, very logical management structure. And he will have those people. Do the right thing.”

“I think it’s a big thing for Ferrari because they want to get rid of anything that might have stood between Ferrari and the world championship in 2022. I’m not sure it’s a managerial decision.”

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