Mattia Binotto for now he can work quietly. Not only on the new car that we will see in less than a month (17, a number that could be propitiatory) but also in the development of the men who will have to manage it on and off the track, in a year in which speed will be more crucial than ever. developments as the unprecedented regulation will force everyone to immediately copy the best that will be seen on competing machines. Who imagined that the corporate restructuring, which came after the inclusion of Benedetto Vignas CEO, he would also have touched the top management of the Sports Management was left with a dry mouth. Binotto was left free – to do otherwise would have been suicide – to continue his work in view of a season in which “many victories will have to arrive”.
The first world championship races between March and April will represent the examination of a project that started from afar and that required the sacrifice of the 2021 season. So we will see Binotto’s beatification if things go well, otherwise Elkann he will act as he did with his cousin Andrea Agnelli at Juventus, that is, proceeding with the choice of a new, as it were, “coach”, hoping with greater luck than has happened up to now with Allegri. The phlegmatic Mattia knows the rules of the game, he has been navigating them for years, he has seen many good people jump who in the past occupied his position. The role of the head of Sports Management in Maranello is notoriously among the least stable in Italy, unless it is supported by the results.
Now that the bogey of a return of Jean Todt seems to have faded (but with some characters it is better never to say never), Binotto can enjoy a few weeks of apparent tranquility. Having been part of the team that coagulated around the French manager in Schumacher’s golden years, Mattia, as soon as the (true) news of the contact between Todt and Elkann appeared, came out with a series of circumstantial praises to the one who had been his boss, but it is clear that the solution of a manager of this magnitude over his head would not have suited him and would have created a series of misunderstandings. Let’s clarify: Todt was a great director of Ges, but at other times, his and Ferrari’s. It is one thing to give a piece of one’s life – so Jean did with total enthusiasm – to the Cavallino cause, really working days and nights without interruption. Another thing would have been to become a part-time super consultant, ready to give judgments without getting his hands too dirty, going to some races, showing himself to alternating current in Maranello. Ungratefully easy task but a little bit maimed and fairly unpleasant. Wasn’t it Todt who no longer wanted Lauda, who was Montezemolo’s trusted advisor at the time? If this was really his goal, Elkann did well to say no, perhaps postponing the decision in his heart until there will be a sentence on the new car. But the writer knows nothing of the type of dialogue that took place between the parties, so we are in the field of hypotheses and everything must be taken with a grain of salt.
No to Todt, then. AND no also to Valentino Rossi who was dying to marry Ferrari for the second half of his sporting life. The dream was to line up in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans with the red. And so he had talked to the right contacts in Maranello, starting with Antonello Coletta who directs the operations of the great return to Sarthe. But the doors closed before him, instead of swinging open. In fact, Ferrari wants to focus on its drivers, from the very good Alessandro Pier Guidi who has made havoc everywhere with the GTs, to the less noble young people of the Academy, to whom it wants to offer a sop even with the wheels covered, also giving a thought to Leclerc And Sainz, whose presence would bring half the world to Le Mans.
Obviously Rossi could have been the icing on the cake, but Ferrari preferred not to take this risk for a very simple reason: the bulky figure that Rossi would have represented at a time when the car does not yet exist, nor is it known whether it will be competitive. Just as it would have happened with Todt, who would have taken all public credit for the (desirable) victories of the 2022 single-seater, Rossi would also have catalysed the spotlight on himself in case of success of the red Hypercar. It is easy to imagine already the titles on Rossi who makes the red one win, when instead Ferrari wishes to center the merits of what is to come on its technology. Equally, a lack of competitiveness of Ferrari Le Mans could have been interpreted as a brake on Valentino’s skill and legitimate ambitions for success with cars. Because Rossi is a media personality who has always been able to manage his image magnificently and he would have done it again this time, with the risk of tarnishing that of Ferrari. An old story, well known, which brings back to the jealousies of the Great Old Man when the headlines favored Lauda or Nuvolari instead of his cars. Nothing new, after 50 or 100 years.