‘He can pay for it’: Warning fired at ‘good guy’ Mattia Binotto as he faces Ferrari axe

Mattia Binotto is increasingly under threat at Ferrari, as the Scuderia have almost completely thrown away their chances of winning a championship in 2022.

Former Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa, fears that team principal Mattia Binotto’s job may be under threat if he does not change the structure of his team.

The Scuderia have suffered a multitude of strategic and reliability nightmares so far in 2022 as their title challenge risks unravelling before their very eyes.

Charles Leclerc had established a dominant lead in the standings, winning in Bahrain and Australia at the start of the year, while Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez encountered reliability troubles of their own.

However, the Red Bull duo have won eight of the last 10 races, six of them consecutive as they asserted dominance of their own.

READ: Charles Leclerc ‘not happy at all’ with Ferrari

However, they did not do so with a little help from their rivals, and ‘little’ might be somewhat of an understatement.

Leclerc retired from the Spanish Grand Prix while comfortably leading the race as Verstappen won, before a raft of mistakes on the pit wall put the Monegasque down to fourth at his home Monaco Grand Prix after he started on pole.

Carlos Sainz might have taken the win had they not also made a mess of his strategy allowing Perez to take the victory.

Two reliability failures for both their drivers cost the Italian side in Baku, and Leclerc’s second reliability issue of the season put him at the back of the grid in Canada, denying him any chance of victory as Verstappen beat Sainz to the flag.

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Sainz’s win in Silverstone was marred by yet another glaring error from the team that sent leader Leclerc down to fourth once more, before the 24-year-old’s victory in Austria coincided with a fiery engine failure for the Spaniard.

That forced Sainz to start from the back in France, making the win an uphill struggle for him and, while Leclerc was leading form pole, he lost control and crashed.

Leclerc had the lead in Budapest in the final race before the summer break, and Ferrari inexplicably stopped him once more than they needed to, putting him on Hards on a damp, cold circuit, turning a prospective victory into P6 as Sainz finished fourth.

A lot of these failures have been avoidable, and such avoidance would have made the championship a lot closer at this point, so Massa affirmed that Binotto has to look at himself as part of the reason for the collapse of his team’s title assault.

“He’s a very good engineer – a very professional guy, he understands a lot about it on the technical side – he’s also a good guy, to be honest,” he explained.

“But in the end, the result is not coming the way it should, so we cannot definitely blame him, but we need to say that he’s part of it.”

Binotto took on his current role in 2019 having spent many years working on the technical side; he knows the company inside out, so he knows how brutal F1 can be.

As a result, Massa warns that a failure to make changes to the team could have consequences for the 52-year-old.

“He needs to turn and change things in a quick way, otherwise he can pay for it [with his job],” explained the 11-time race winner.

Binotto, however, has maintained that his strategic team, headed up by Inaki Rueda, does not need to be altered.

“I am convinced that our team is also strong at a strategic level, we often look at mistakes and not at what we do right,” he told Tag24.

“We should have won five more races, but somehow it didn’t happen, we could have been 9-3 [over Red Bull] in terms of wins, because we always had problems when we were in the lead. 

“Red Bull only had bad luck when they were behind us, but looking at the balance of the first half of the season, I see no reason why we should change.

READ: Mattia Binotto denies ‘changes are needed’ at Ferrari as he faces axe

“I just think we need to address the question of what went wrong, understand the problem and work on it, there’s no reason why we can’t get it back next time.”

Ferrari now trail Red Bull by 97 points in the team’s championship, with Verstappen 80 points clear of Leclerc in the Drivers’ Standings.