Binotto’s announcement on Tuesday that he would step down as team principal at the end of the season came after weeks of speculation that Binotto would leave the team after 28 years.
In a statement formalizing Binotto’s departure, Ferrari said the process of finding a new team principal “has begun” and is “expected to be completed in the new year”. Alfa Romeo F1 boss Frederic Vasseur is a favorite in the business, with connections dating back a few weeks as rumors started swirling in the paddock.
But replacing the man at the top of the F1 operation isn’t the only challenge Ferrari president John Elkann and CEO Benedetto Vigna face: they also need to find a new technical chief.
After Binotto took the reins at Ferrari in 2019, he took on an unusual dual role managing the team as he was not promoted to his previous role as technical chief.
After starting out as an engineer, Binotto rose through Maranello and became head of Ferrari’s engine department before taking over as technical director in 2016 following the departure of James Allison.
As a result, Binotto has continued to take care of the technical department at Ferrari over the past four seasons, retaining supervision while delegating some responsibilities and also serving as team principal.
This means that Ferrari is now faced with the task of filling not one but two of the most senior roles on the F1 team, and there doesn’t seem to be any substitutes in-house ready to intervene. On the team principal’s side, proof of that actually comes. Having confirmed Binotto’s departure, Ferrari’s failure to identify his successor caused Ferrari to look outside the team.
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari Team Principal, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Laurent Mekies, Ferrari Racing Director
Unless Ferrari can find someone with a similar background to Binotto who can take on a dual role as both team principal and technical chief, its internal structure will likely need to change and it will revert to the more traditional approach, potentially with a bespoke manager. Manager.
But the added challenge on this front is that many of the top names in F1 will be subject to extended gardening leave. When Aston Martin appointed Red Bull’s Dan Fallows as their new chief technical officer, it took 10 months to get started – and that was only after a deal was struck to shorten gardening leave.
It would be a great desire for Ferrari to hire someone from outside the team for the 2023 season, which means an internal promotion is likely – but this will also require a reorganization of its technical department.
While finding the right person to lead the team moving forward following Binotto’s departure is important to Ferrari, securing a strong technical chief is the other key battle it is currently facing, especially given the strength of these departments at Red. Taurus and Mercedes.
Binotto’s departure created a domino effect, which is even more complex than appointing a similar replacement. That means Ferrari has little time to lose if they want to be able to continue a constant challenge for both titles in 2023 and have a steady lead to end their drought.