Mattia Binotto is a man under fire in Formula 1 at the moment, with many fans of Ferrari growing frustrated at the team principal’s performance this season and calling for a change in management.
Ferrari started the season in spectacular fashion, picking up a one-two finish in Bahrain while title favourites Mercedes and Red Bull faltered.
Mercedes struggled with porpoising in the early stages of the season and looked significantly off the pace, while Red Bull could not prevent multiple DNF’s in the first few races as they battled with reliability issues.
Since then Ferrari have fallen out of the title battle, and it could get even worse for the Scuderia as Mercedes even have a chance of overtaking them in the championship in Abu Dhabi, which has been described at the ultimate embarrassment.
The reason that Binotto is taking most of the flack for Ferrari’s shortcomings this season is the nature of their failures, with woeful strategy calls seeing the team shoot themselves in the foot more times that they were genuinely beaten for pace in the middle part of the season.
On more than one occasion the team have put their drivers on tyres that the data suggests are clearly poor race tyres, for example in Hungary where Ferrari’s decision to box for the hard tyres saw their drivers taken out of contention for the win yet again.
Binotto was asked about the rumours prior to the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, and suggested that releasing a statement of support was agreed to have been the best course of action.
“Obviously when these speculations were out I had a chat with my chairman John Elkann, together we discussed openly what was the best way to move forward and we decided to release a statement,” he explained.
“That was maybe the best way to close any speculations and clearly those are speculations that are totally with no foundation, totally, with no foundations.”
The team principal, who came through the ranks at Ferrari, has told reporters that while he is aware of the criticism of his team this year, he believes that they have still achieved their objectives for 2022.
“I’m pretty relaxed,” he said.
“I think if I look back at the season, yes, we had a few ups and downs but I think we achieved our main objective which was to be back to be competitive in the new era of 2022 cars.”
Binotto has also claimed that he is not worried about Mercedes closing the cap to his team in recent weeks, as Ferrari have focused all their attention on building their 2023 car, while Mercedes are still upgrading the W13.