‘There is no magic wand’: Mattia Binotto disagrees with Charles Leclerc amid Ferrari drama

Ferrari have lost a number of race wins due to a multitude of mistakes this season.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has reinforced his stance that the Scuderia do not need to change their approach despite another strategic blunder in Hungary last time out.

The season started out brilliantly for the Italian side; Charles Leclerc won in Bahrain and Australia, while Max Verstappen retired from both with reliability issues – Sergio Perez joined him on the list of non-finishers in the opening round.

A Carlos Sainz nightmare in Australia saw him walk away from round three scoreless, but it was no biggie – Ferrari still had the better car.

READ: Ex-Ferrari sporting director says Mattia Binotto wasn’t meant to be team principal

This changed in Imola; Red Bull brought an upgrade that was set to gain them another three tenths of a second in lap time, and Verstappen emphatically won his second race of the season, leading home Perez for Red Bull’s first one-two since 2016.

Ferrari’s home race was also the start of a horrible run; Sainz crashed in qualifying before being wiped out of the race by Daniel Ricciardo, while Charles Leclerc’s spin threw away a podium finish and saw him finish sixth.

The Austrian side had better race pace in Miami as Verstappen won again, but it looked as though things were about to change in Spain.

Leclerc took pole in Barcelona, and was on for a comfortable victory before his engine failed, and Red Bull claimed another one-two following another mistake from Sainz that saw him finish fourth behind George Russell.

The Monegasque was denied victory at his home race as the first strategical error came into play for Ferrari, and the lead became fourth in a miserable day for them that saw Perez take his first win of the year.

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A double reliability failure followed in Baku for the Maranello side, and this saw Leclerc start from the back in Canada, eliminating any chance of him beating race winner Verstappen.

Sainz would take victory in Silverstone, but only after yet another mistake on the pit wall had turned P1 into P4 for Leclerc, and while the 24-year-old won in Spielberg, Sainz fell victim to another engine problem.

Leclerc crashed out of the lead in France, and Sainz was forced to recover from the back, but indecision as to how to serve a five-second penalty picked up during the race cost them a podium, with the 27-year-old eventually coming home fifth.

Budapest, however, was perhaps the worst of them all. A bizarre call to make an extra stop onto Hards took another win from Leclerc, dragging him down to sixth.

Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both had the beating of Sainz on pace, so the Spaniard ended up fourth as Mercedes secured their second double podium of the season.

Having started 10th on the grid, Verstappen won the race, with Ferrari throwing away another golden chance to win.

Binotto understands that there is always room for improvement, but he does not agree that his team have made a lot of mistakes so far in 2022.

“First of all, I think there is always a way to improve, you can’t be perfect and you never will be,” he told Motorsport.com.

“I have no doubt we always need to take steps forward, we need to improve on aerodynamics, chassis, power unit, strategy and all the aspects that can be improved. 

“Having said that, I think I have a great team that takes care of the strategy and I don’t think that’s a weakness of ours.

“Races like Monaco, Silverstone or Paul Ricard have been judged problematic on this front, but I don’t see the team as a problem because I think we have also made the right decisions.

“I’m not convinced what we did was wrong, I think we made what were the right decisions at the time they were made, and sometimes they turned out to be unfortunate, not wrong. 

“And if we look at the work of our strategy team, sometimes they even did great things, better than the opponents.

“For example, in Austria we had the right strategy, unlike our opponents, just as we had probably the best strategy in France before Charles’ mistake.

“At Paul Ricard we had the courage to take two sets of medium tyres into the race, and to make a choice like that you have to be not only good but also brave. 

READ: Mattia Binotto ‘not surprised’ by poor reliability as he reveals Ferrari’s aggressive approach

“So, overall, we have a good team and I don’t think this is a weakness.

“We could start discussing, again, Monaco, Silverstone and Paul Ricard – from my point of view I think they were difficult decisions, maybe unfortunate but not always wrong, so I don’t think it’s our weakness at the moment.”

Therefore, the notion that things need to change going into the final nine rounds of the year does not hold any water with the Italian.

“No, I think we simply have to continue our path of continuous improvement, step by step, focusing on every single race,” added Binotto.

“I am convinced we have the potential to win races and it doesn’t mean we have to change our approach – there is no magic wand in Formula 1. 

“We have shown we can do a good job and we get there step by step, gaining experience and growing.”

Verstappen leads Leclerc by 80 points in the Drivers’ Standings, with Red Bull 97 clear of Ferrari in the teams’ fight.