It’s a surprising December for Formula 1, even if the cars are at a standstill. The resignation of Mattia Binotto, which preceded the divestitures by Ferrari, created chaos in Maranello. It had never happened in the history of Ferrari that a team manager was deprived without another one ready immediately to take over. Instead, Binotto shuffled the cards, exposing the Cavallino management more than ever, which was unable to react instantly.
But the paradox is that Binotto, after the letter delivered to the personnel director and without a wave of greeting from Elkann (it is as if 28 years given to Ferrari had been a formality: in the official press release there is only the thanks of Vigna ), continued to remain in his office as if nothing had happened, to carry on the work that whoever takes over his post will enjoy. And this has created total disorientation on the part of his collaborators. But the most sensational thing is that Binotto, like Ferrari (of which he is an ex), took part in the FIA World Council in Bologna, where they talked about today’s F.1, next year and a tomorrow in which Mattia will reappear with another uniform. A situation inexplicable to mere mortals. Inexplicable by the Ferrari management who decide to deprive themselves of Binotto but then use him as if nothing had happened until the end of December. Inexplicable on the part of Binotto, who in the face of a company behavior that is certainly reprehensible, did not go away on the spot, leaving all the tasks in the hands of Benedetto Vigna, the managing director. Unless Binotto has been forced into this farce as he is still discussing the severance pay a year ahead of the deal he had.
His presence at the World Council seemed surreal to everyone and Ferrari came out badly again, in the face of the critical and ruthless world of Formula 1. But that’s not all. How Mattia could have accepted such a part is a mystery, because it also affects his image. Since he’s not a fool or a self-harmer, surely there are serious reasons. Mysteries that we will know over time, when perhaps Binotto will write a book (or perhaps a multi-volume series…) of his 28 happy and tormented years in Maranello: now that he has a year of gardening, he could start thinking about the various chapters of the story and to the characters to be included, between one phone call and another from the competition who are competing to hire him with effect from 1 January 2024. But in the meantime how can Ferrari waste time, at a crucial moment for the final definition of the 2023 car? Precious weeks thrown away with one garment present but about to leave and one absent – Frederic Vasseur: everyone at Ferrari says it will be him – that instead he would need to be there to get to know the people he will work with, see next year’s single-seater, define roles and new arrivals. As long as Vasseur hasn’t asked for early holidays to enjoy Christmas with his family, before starting the Italian adventure…
In the midst of these mists, there is someone who has clear ideas about their future. AND’ Gerhard Berger, whose name has been circulating on Ferrari’s wish list for years, as a top man. There has been a lot of talk about him in recent weeks and it would have been the ideal solution, considering his previous experiences at Ferrari, his knowledge of the environment and our mentality, his political ability. If John Elkann had hired Berger to play alongside Binotto, he would have created a dream team with a guaranteed future.
Gerhard slips away on the subject, even if he certainly spoke, at an unspecified time, with Elkann. And he says: “Yes, I’ve had discussions with some teams but I’ve decided that from now on I’ll only think about my private work, my family, the things I like off the slopes. I sold the management of the DTM to the German ADAC: the championship is healthy and has a guaranteed future but commercially the moment is difficult. The Ferrari? I would have kept Binotto close, who has an exceptional experience and has done excellent things this year. The machine was there, the structure too: there were mistakes, but all of them could be remedied shortly. I don’t understand. But Binotto had to be supported with a manager next to him, as happens in Red Bull and Mercedes where there are two people at the top of the team, one for technique and one for general management, which is more complicated than ever today“.
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