Mattia Binotto ‘disappointed’ after visiting Audi HQ

Mattia Binotto departed Ferrari at the end of 2022, following a 27-year stay at Maranello.

Ex-Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was reportedly given a tour of Audi’s Neuberg headquarters recently, as he continues to be linked to a switch to the Germans’ upcoming Formula 1 project.

Audi are merging with Sauber in 2026 when the new power unit regulations are introduced, with the German manufacturer set to have a 75% stake in the Hinwil-based team when they officially join F1.

The Germans will lead an Audi works team in cooperation with Sauber.

The arrival of Audi at Sauber is currently being worked on by former McLaren boss Andreas Seidl, who moved to Sauber to become their new CEO following Frederic Vasseur’s switch to Ferrari.

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Seidl is busy getting a team together ready for 2026, with Binotto having reportedly been offered the chance to become the outfit’s boss.

However, the Italian is believed to have rejected Sauber’s approach to lead the team into the new regulations, with Audi’s HQ having not impressed him.

Binotto reportedly visited the manufacturer’s HQ, where some of the people he met were like “clowns”.

According to Business F1 magazine, Audi certainly didn’t leave Binotto with a good impression, with the former Ferrari man having privately revealed his displeasure at some of the team’s staff.

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“He was somewhat disappointed by what he saw at Audi,” the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport also reported.

“So much so that in some private messages he sensationally said that some of the characters he met in that meeting were ‘clowns’.”

Binotto left Ferrari at the end of last season following a complete breakdown of communication between himself and his superiors, with some having reported that the Italian was told to either quit or be fired.

He chose the more dignified option after leading the Maranello-based team to second in the Constructors’ Championship, a position they’ll struggle to reach this year.

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Ferrari have gone dramatically backwards since Binotto’s departure, with other employees having followed him out of the exit door.

Vasseur is trying to steer the Italian ship in the right direction; however, it’s becoming an increasingly challenging task.

An inconsistent car has made top-five finishes a rarity, with the side only having a single rostrum to their name after seven races.