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Wolff rules out Mercedes role for Binotto


Toto Wolff has dismissed the suggestion that Mattia Binotto might make a move to Mercedes engine division.

Having failed to convince as team principal - a largely political role - Ferrari has effectively thrown out the baby with the bathwater in allowing Mattia Binotto, a highly respected engineer, to leave the company and face being snapped up by a rival.

Binotto was never cut out for the role and should never have been appointed, but in its infinite wisdom, and clearly having failed to learn from its previous mistakes, Ferrari went ahead anyway.

Ever since it was confirmed that he was out, Binotto has been linked with a number of rival teams and manufacturers, however Toto Wolff insists that Mercedes isn't one of them.

"I think there was too much porcelain broken between us the last two years that this would be possible," the Austrian tells the sport's official website in its Beyond the Grid podcast, referring to the numerous times Ferrari has clashed with its German rival away from the track.

"With the other teams, I can't say," he admits. "Certainly, Mattia understands Formula 1 inside out, and yeah, maybe he finds a role in another team."

Admitting that the pair had had their moments, Wolff says that - unlike the ongoing spats with Christian Horner - it is all in the past.

"We were in a much better place," says the Austrian. "But it was always clear that he was under tremendous pressure. Being a team principal at Ferrari, you better have a good contract for your exit. Now, probably the unavoidable happened, but he held onto it longer than I thought."

With Frederic Vasseur and Gerhard Berger among the names being linked with Binotto's role at Ferrari, Wolff is unwilling to suggest who would best suit the Italian team. However, is fully aware of the qualities they will need to bring with them.

"You need to understand motor racing, maybe more than just Formula 1," he says. "It's such a niche where the sport, the regulations, the governing body, the commercial rights holder, the competitors, all of us are basically locked in this paddock cage. You need to be politically astute.

"It's a very niche, specialist environment," he adds. "The more you know about the sport, the better it is. But you don't want to be a one-trick pony either. You can be a good racing manager, and not understand about anything that's going on commercially or outside in the world."

Like Wolff, Christian Horner wasn't surprised by the Italian team's decision.

"It's obviously Ferrari's choice," he told Sky Sports. "I think it will be the sixth team principal there I've sat opposite since I've been at Red Bull.

"It's obviously difficult for him," he added. "They had a great car this year, they were certainly very competitive."

Asked if he could be tempted to role widely regarded as a poisoned chalice, the Briton said: "My commitment is very much with the Red Bull team. I've been there since the beginning and we obviously have a very close attachment."


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1. Posted by Max Noble, 09/12/2022 6:15

"There we go de Nile is not just a river in Egypt… Expect an executive role as per Niki L. Being announced in the near future (see, we told you it was not directly engine related…). Or with the FIA… or Liberty Media… or Aston… or Tesla… actually… let’s wait and see… :-) Do you think he called Ghost Busters…? ;-)"

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