"We are united," insists Binotto


Despite a roller-coaster opening half of the season, Ferrari boss, Mattia Binotto sees light at the end of the tunnel without the need for major change.

After the opening three rounds of the season, while Mercedes struggled with its problems, Ferrari enjoyed a 49 point advantage over Red Bull as Charles Leclerc claimed victories in Bahrain and Australia.

However, as has so often has been the case, the Italian team then conspired to rescue defeat from the jaws of victory, courtesy of a number of factors including reliability, strategy and driver errors.

Consequently, the Maranello outfit headed into the summer break trailing its rival by 97 points and rapidly falling into the clutches of a revived Mercedes.

While there have been the usual calls for reorganisation, not least the firing of strategist Inaki Rueda, Binotto insists that, though there is no silver bullet, everything is in place to see the team succeed.

"It has not been an easy journey from 2019, when I was put in place as team principal, to today," he admits to Motorsport.com. "We have been through 2020, a very difficult one, and then 2021. But even 2022, because we are fighting for the best, sometimes there are races where we are not obtaining what is the potential of the car. So it's not an easy one.

"But what I may say is that I'm happy in the role," he adds. "I'm happy because I know that I've got a great team. The team is united. It's great to see them working together."

On numerous occasions this year, as fans around the world groaned at the latest calamity to befall the Italian team, the TV cameras would cut to Binotto, caught like a rabbit in the headlights.

"It is very hard for two reasons," he admits. "The first if we are speaking about engine failure, I managed that (department) myself in the past, and to see smoke is never great. So this is more a feeling of being depressed.

"No doubt when you see that we are leading the race, as Charles was leading in Baku and even Carlos I would say in Austria, they are problems that you would never like to see.

"I'm staying calm, but believe me, I'm depressed. It's difficult and you take a few moments, trying to react, then you really need to think about the next steps.

"What is needed and what is required? And not only in terms of technical, but more in terms of team. What can I do to help? What can I do to make sure that everybody remains calm and focused, protected even from external attacks and comment?"

Unlike the Italian media, Binotto is not in favour of shouting the odds or apportioning blame, certainly in public, preferring to follow his own unique style of management.

"I think I'm empowering the people which are around me," he says. "I think I'm not brutal, but I'm strict. And people around me know that I can be very strict. But more than that, I'm trying always to empower them, and give them all what's required to do their job. And I trust the people around me.

"I'm not the one that will go into the detail of every single element," he adds. "I more focus on myself, making sure that, as I said before, they have got whatever is required to do the job.

"I know how important is the mood in the team, I know how important is the mental approach and the culture. We are working a lot on it inside of the team, trying to change our culture compared to what it was us, and what we believe is the right attitude and behaviours to put in place.

"I can see that the team is somehow very united and I think that you can get that through transparency. Even I think you need to be smart as well, sometimes transparent and genuine.

"There are no silver bullets in F1," he continues. "It didn't take just one year or two years (to recover). It was more than that. I think that what we got today started a long time ago, maybe even in 2016 or 2017.

"It has been a continuous building up the team, improving ourselves. It is about organisation, it's about skills, it's about experience, it's about methodology and tools, it's about assets, and when I'm saying assets that can be simulator, improvement of the wind tunnel, whatever you have got."

Looking back at 2020, which followed the FIA's infamous investigation of its 2019 power unit, he says: "It was more than a step back, it was three steps back. Why? I've think that in 2020, we simply messed up our project.

"And then everything has been frozen at the start to the season. It was like if Mercedes would have been frozen at race one this season: what would have been with them?

"I don't think it's a team that is not capable of developing. It's capable of doing a good car, capable of fighting for the best, but if you would freeze your project at race one, and you have somehow made some mistakes, as Mercedes did this season, then you stay there for the entire season.

"But also 2020 has been the product of what we tried to put in place during 2019, where we reshuffled completely the organization and the team. In 2020 and 2021, we had only limited opportunity to develop the car, which was a difficult car. So I think 2020 or 2021 do not reflect what was the total capacity of the team at the time.

"The team, as I said starting from 2017, is trying simply to progress each single year," he continues. "Today I think we've got more of a true feedback of its capacity. But no doubt that we improved, no doubt we improved in each single season, and no doubt I think 2020 has been useful to us to somehow put on us even more necessity to improve furthermore: analysing all the weaknesses at the time, the project of the organisation, try to set up something which will be better for the future.

"And from 2020 onwards, certainly we made some changes in organisation with clearer roles, clear responsibilities. We had a new simulator, so I think it was a good time for us certainly on the journey to say: 'okay, let's make a point, highlight the weaknesses and try to address all of them'. And I think that has been done."

And looking ahead?

"I don't think that there is anything different that we need to do," he insists. "I think it is simply to continue on our journey of continuously improving ourselves step by step, focusing on each single race.

"I think we have the potential to win races at the moment. It's only a matter of making sure that when we get to the chequered flag we are in first position. But it doesn't mean that we have to change our approach.

"As we said, there are no silver bullets so I don't think we need to change ourselves. We have proved that we can do a good job. It's only a matter of step by step getting there, get used to it, and whatever will be the outcome for 2022, we try to be prepared for 2023."

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Published: 18/08/2022
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