He wears those glasses. Has a hairdo that can’t be missed. He’s been the subject of memes that run, unfortunately, in tens of thousands. There’ve been video footages from the heydays of Ferrari that show a mild-mannered, good natured man next to Michael Schumacher. Moreover, he’s been an integral part of a team that’s essentially the same colour as the human blood, if that explains something about the phrase ‘passion.’
And moreover, he’s just resigned.
When you are Mattia Binotto, the Switzerland-born former team principal of an Italian giant, you can’t have things easy.
Not that you’d not want things to be complex. But such is the nature of things at Ferrari and the myriad challenges that come with managing a Formula 1 team that will always stay an icon regardless of who finishes on the top step of the podium.
Ever since news struck that the 53-year-old Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari became a former team Principal, there’ve been, as expected, countless reactions.
And why wouldn’t that be the case. For starters- trolling is easy and understanding things a touch difficult.
That said, before one makes further fun of a man who’s already had quite a few punches below the belt his way, the following should be taken into consideration.
And surely, I’ve never met anyone in Monza, shook hands with Mattia Binotto as much as I’d like to and can tell with certainty, haven’t received a dime from anyone in Mattia Binotto’s PR or things of that sort.
Fact is that Binotto’s failed to deliver Ferrari a world title. Nothing can change that. At the same time, Binotto’s hands aren’t with blood exactly.
That Ferrari have finished 2022 on a high must afford the former Ferrari F1 team boss some respect.
Because yes being second for a team that was, in 2020, nowhere near the top three, can’t be underrated.
All of that said, here’s what F1.com (the official Formula 1 site) had to say in a recent feature it ran on Mattia Binotto, not a man you meet everyday and the trollers would say, they’d not even want to:
When Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri retired from his position with immediate effect in December 2020, Binotto’s position – sources say – was weakened.
Camillieri, and his predecessor Sergio Marchionne, were big supporters of Binotto. They believed in his abilities and backed him to turn Ferrari’s fortunes around.
They understood the challenges of Formula 1 – and that it would take time for Binotto to put a structure in place to deliver a sustained period of success. They could protect him internally and externally – allowing him to focus on the job.
When Camillieri left, Binotto found himself somewhat alone. Without that support – and with the biggest job in Formula 1 – the pressure grew.
He cracked on with the path he believed was the right one. He focused on ridding the company of a blame culture that had long hampered Ferrari’s progress.
The Italian never criticised the team publicly, instead choosing to discuss things privately. He would offer support internally rather than trying to scapegoat.
It meant that while there were some who were jealous of him, which is commonplace in sport and business when someone makes such progress up the company ladder, the majority believed in his vision and liked to work for him.
That being told, while one’s not sure whether history will pass a kind verdict on Mattia Binotto, what can’t be debated, is that it was under the soft-spoken man’s watch that Ferrari overhauled their wind tunnel.
And this isn’t even a myth. The results of such a timely move, coupled with sheer driver effort were evident from the onset of the previous season. It’s a season, which may have had Abu Dhabi as the sun-setter, but saw Carlos Sainz- not Charles Leclerc (with much respect)- pave way for some bright spots for the Scuderia under the sun.
If anyone’s still thinking- and there may be countless- that the Scuderia Ferrari results on the track and those etched the performance sheets is just about the brilliant and princely Charles Leclerc, then think again.
For sure it’s a team effort as it always is. But the actual force that paved way for a Ferrari fightback, if not a complete resurgence after their dismal 2020 campaign, was- is- Carlos Sainz Jr.
164.5 of Ferrari’s 323.5 points were scored by the very driver, who was once, just a Fernando Alonso fan and the son of Carlos Sainz, the great legend.
While Leclerc’s continued to impress in much of 2022 and the results are there for all to see (Ferrari are next-best only to Red Bull), that the team continued to bin many chances of winning can’t be avoided and must not be avoided.
That all of it- Sainz’s mega win at Silverstone, Leclerc leading the charts at one stage, before the team pouched many an opportunity- happened with Mattia Binotto at the helm of the affairs makes it all so complex.
And truth be told, the die-hard fan- not the fanboy- can’t be blamed for criticising the man, who we conveniently forget isn’t some clown.
He’s been an engineer with the sport’s most loved F1 team from the onset of 1997 to 2003 and for reasons more than this stat throw he should be given some respect if not adulation.