Former professional racing driver from England, Damon Hill, who won the Formula 1 world championship in 1996, feels that ex-Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto was “thrown under the bus a bit” by the Maranello team following the previous F1 campaign, when the Italian manager decided to hand in his resignation after almost three decades of working in Maranello.
Mattia Binotto parted ways with Scuderia Ferrari at the end of a 2022 Formula 1 championship that started in a perfect manner for his side, with two race victories secured by Charles Leclerc in Bahrain and Australia. The Italian side clearly had the potential to fight against Red Bull for the titles, but despite four race wins and several more pole positions, Max Verstappen and the Austrian side completely dominated especially in the second part of the season.
Ferrari could not build on the amazing start to the 2022 Formula 1 season due to a series of unfortunate factors, mainly related to the power unit reliability and some questionable strategy decisions from the Maranello pit wall. While Mattia Binotto continued to support his staff, the Italian manager lost the trust of chief executive officer Benedetto Vigna and decided to leave the team. French manager Frederic Vasseur was chosen to replace him at the top of the Ferrari Racing Division.
Damon Hill and fellow ex-Formula 1 driver Pedro de la Rosa were asked about the recent changes at Ferrari during the winter. The Spaniard, who in 2013 and 2014 worked for the Maranello team, with a developmental role aiding its simulator resource, praised Mattia Binotto’s foresight that he had while in charge of the Italian side, which he pointed out is the highest-pressured job in Formula 1, while the 1996 F1 world champion added that Mattia Binotto could and perhaps should have remained at the team in 2023:
Show your support for Scuderia Ferrari with official merchandise collection! Click here to enter the F1 online Store and shop securely! And also get your F1 tickets for every race with VIP hospitality and unparalleled insider access. Click here for the best offers to support Charles and Carlos from the track!
“Fred is a racer, he’s won every category. I mean, he’s definitely going to be a great team principal. There’s no question about that,” Pedro De la Rosa saod on the F1 Nation podcast.
“Mattia Binotto was really good for Ferrari in the sense that he was the one of the first team principals that actually could think long term, he was brave enough to think in the mid-long term at Ferrari where normally at Ferrari, I’ve been there and every decision is orientated to the next race, next Grand Prix. But Mattia was brave enough to during 2021 [to] diminish the development progress of the car and basically concentrate on the change of regulations from 2022. It’s not easy at Ferrari, so I think Mattia did a fantastic job and we are seeing a very competitive Ferrari, but thanks to his work as well, you know, so let’s not forget that.” – he pointed out.
Damon Hill shared the same view with Pedro De la Rosa’s assessment, also stating that the ideal solution for the Maranello team would have been to keep Mattia Binotto on board while also signing Fred Vasseur, maybe even splitting duties between the Italian and French managers.
“I think that Mattia did a brilliant job and I think he’d been thrown under the bus a bit, frankly,” added the 1996 Formula 1 World Champion – “But I think the reason he has gone, has been as much to do with… his real skill didn’t seem to me to be running a Formula 1 team in terms of the race strategy. You remember the conversation on the podium with Charles Leclerc, and stuff about the managing of the drivers and all that pit wall stuff? Really [that is] where Fred Vasseur is really good.
“I think he’s good at looking at a race team and I think that, you know, Mattia Binotto, they’ve lost a real talent there back at the factory. I think he could have been could have been very effective. I don’t know what went on in there to think that they could cope without him, but I think that they could have split the roles. I think they could have had Fred in there as running Ferrari’s operations at the racetrack, and kept Mattia in there as a team principal.” – he concluded.