According to reports in Italy, it appears a wind of change is sweeping through the halls of Maranello with Ferrari opting to overhaul their management structure ahead of the 2019 F1 season. Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Monday that Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene will no longer lead the team, with Technical Director Mattia Binotto drafted in to replace him.
It is believed there were tensions between Arrivabene and Binotto last season and these grew as Ferrari’s title challenge evaporated. The chances of a leadership change increased when John Elkann took over as Ferrari president, following Sergio Marchionne’s death.
Binotto has risen through the Ferrari ranks over the last two decades with many crediting the Italian team’s power unit gains to him, after he took over as power unit Chief Operating Officer ahead of 2015. The reports come after Ferrari again lost out to Mercedes in the battle for both drivers’ and constructors’ championships last year, despite having the best package on the grid for the opening half of the season. Ferrari lost their way with development after the summer break, allowing Mercedes to pull clear in the constructors’ race and Lewis Hamilton to beat Sebastian Vettel to clinch a fifth drivers’ crown.
La Gazzetta dello Sport said official confirmation of the move could come as early as later on Monday.
On Monday, Arrivabene had again declared this to be ‘fake news’ as the Italian papers claimed that the team boss is to be removed in favour of Binotto. For months there have been rumours of a power struggle within Ferrari, with Binotto and Arrivabene known to be locking horns within the team after the death of CEO Sergio Marchionne last summer. At the time Sky Italia reported on the shock within the team, an anonymous source within Ferrari said:
“The loss of Sergio Marchionne at the end of July weighed heavily. You have to imagine that, like removing a pillar in a building. Everyone rushes to their aid, it is repaired, but the matter is not solved. Marchionne had planned another future, with a more important role for Binotto. We do not know what exactly that should have been. But there is no doubt that he had more to say. Binotto is not a man of little ambition. There is not much harmony between him and Arrivabene, and two million offers from other teams have contributed to that. So we have plenty of reason for abdominal pain.”
The initial plans of Sergio Marchionne would more than likely promoted Mattia Binotto further into the team management role. Much like Sergio’s plans for Charles Leclerc to move into the senior team from Sauber, his replacement John Elkann has again put in motion his predecessors’ wishes.
For the moment it is unclear who will replace Mattia Binotto as head of Ferrari’s technical department.