Secret Mattia Binotto meeting with rival team boss sparks fresh axe speculation

Fans have been calling for Mattia Binotto to be sacked following a disappointing year for Ferrari.

The rumour mill in Formula 1 is not just for drivers, as team principals, engineers and designer all make moves up and down the paddock as part of an ever changing sport.

Ferrari have been heavily rumoured by Italian media to be on the hunt for a replacement for current team principal Mattia Binotto, following an underwhelming year for the Scuderia.

Ferrari looked like the team to beat this year as they stormed to victories in the early stages of the season, while Red Bull and Mercedes struggled with reliability and porpoising respectively, however a catalogue of errors saw the team fall out of the title race.

Most of the errors have seen the team shoot themselves in the foot with poor strategy calls and mechanical failures, which has led to parts of the Tifosi calling for a change in management.

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Ferrari have denied rumours that they are looking to replace Binotto, but there appears to be no smoke without fire as the Ferrari boss was spotted with Guenther Steiner and Frederic Vasseur, both team principals of Ferrari associated teams, in the paddock in Abu Dhabi.

It has been suggested the Vasseur will make the move from Alfa Romeo to Ferrari, while Steiner may be forced to reshuffle his team at Haas as Ferrari look to headhunt some of their key staff.

Steiner has been quick to shut down any rumours surrounding the trio’s rendezvous, claiming that they simply shared transport back from the F1 commission, where many new additions to F1 were discussed.

“Mattia just gave us a lift on the return from the F1 commission, that’s all,” said Steiner when asked about their meeting.

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“We talked but we always talk to each other.”

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Charles Leclerc has defended his boss in recent weeks, telling reporters that while he admits that there has been strategy errors this season, everything is discussed internally and dealt with, confirming that he has seen an improvement in communication and decision making in the team.

One thing that will put Binotto’s job at risk will be if they undergo the ultimate embarrassment and are overtaken by Mercedes in the championship on the final day.

Mercedes have not had the pace to compete with Ferrari for the majority of the season, but heading into Abu Dhabi the gap has closed to only 19 points, meaning that another one-two for the Silver Arrows could cause serious problems for the Scuderia.