Italian businessman Piero Ferrari, the second and only living son of Enzo Ferrari, and a 10% owner of the Ferrari automotive company of which he is the vice chairman, was asked to comment on the recent changes which took place at the Maranello team. Mattia Binotto is the latest man tasked with returning Ferrari back to its former heights in Formula 1.
Monday’s announcement that Mattia Binotto will replace Maurizio Arrivabene’s with immediate effect at Scuderia Ferrari – its third change of team boss in the last five years – marked the dawn of a new era for F1’s biggest entity. A case can be put forward that Arrivabene’s departure from the Italian squad does not come as a huge surprise. The decision followed reported rising tensions from within Ferrari’s ranks and a power struggle amid its latest failure to return to winning ways in a sport in which it boasts more success than any other team. The 61-year-old Italian, previously part of the senior management at Ferrari’s long-term partner Philip Morris, took over at the helm of Ferrari at the end of the first season of F1’s V6 hybrid era in 2014 and helped improve the team’s fortunes after a lacklustre start to the new cycle of regulations.
But back-to-back title collapses in 2017 and 2018 proved the final straw for Arrivabene, with last season – in which Ferrari had the fastest car for much of the year – proving the most damaging. A combination of team mistakes ultimately overseen by Maurizio Arrivabene led to Ferrari throwing away its best chance of winning silverware since its last title triumph in 2008.
“We have acted in the exclusive interest of Ferrari. Everything happened before Christmas, we wanted to preserve the technical continuity, without creating any disturbance in the structure of the team ahead of the next championship. The most important thing we took into consideration was to guarantee the technical continuity of the Ferrari racing department and to be able to count on Mattia Binotto’s vast competence is fundamental for building a strong team.” – Piero Ferrari explained, as reported by the Italian media on Thursday.
Mattia Binotto’s promotion to team principal coincides with a changed driver line-up at Ferrari, the first in over four years. Highly-rated protege Charles Leclerc, whose back-to-back title victories in GP3 and Formula 2 and an impressive rookie F1 campaign with Sauber earned him a speedy graduation to Ferrari, joins four-time world champion Vettel as the Scuderia looks to prevent Mercedes from matching its all-time record of six successive titles won between 1999 and 2004.