Ferrari boss responds to Mattia Binotto reportedly joining Alpine

Frederic Vasseur replaced Mattia Binotto as Ferrari's team principal following the end of the 2022 season.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur refused to comment on whether Mattia Binotto is joining Alpine as team principal, following the sacking of Otmar Szafnauer.

Ahead of qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix, it was announced that Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane will be leaving Alpine after this weekend.

Who Szafnauer’s replacement will be is currently unknown; however, it’s believed that ex-Ferrari boss Binotto is an option.

Vasseur was brought in by the Maranello-based team to replace Binotto at the end of the 2022 season, with the Frenchman having refused to comment on whether the man he replaced is set to join Alpine.

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“No comment,” Vasseur told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.

Qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps was a positive affair for the Italians, with Charles Leclerc set to start Sunday’s race from pole position.

The Monegasque set the second-quickest time behind reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, but the Dutchman has a five-place grid penalty for taking a fifth gearbox (legal limit is four).

Leclerc has looked quick throughout the opening day in Belgium, with him now having a great chance to claim a rostrum on Sunday.

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Carlos Sainz will start Sunday’s race from the second row of the grid, having been promoted to fifth following Verstappen’s grid drop.

Sainz set the fifth-quickest time after posting a 1m 47.152s, just under two-tenths of a second slower than Leclerc who broke into the high 1m 46s.

Leclerc was pleased with his lap but believes he could’ve gotten closer to Verstappen’s ridiculous time – which was eight-tenths faster than the Ferrari driver’s – had the team released him back onto the track slightly later.

The 25-year-old is convinced that he started his final lap a “bit too early”, meaning he wasn’t able to capitalise on the circuit at its best.

READ: Charles Leclerc warns against complaints if FIA cancels 2023 Belgian GP

“Not a bad qualifying for us, especially in those conditions it is always tricky to put everything together,” Leclerc said in his post-qualifying interview in parc fermé.

“I put in a lot of work in those conditions as I wasn’t comfortable a few races ago and it seemed to pay off.

“We went a bit too early for that last run but we could have been a bit closer. Having said that, we have a great starting position for Sunday and let’s see how it goes.”