No Ferrari staff changes insists Binotto as Rosberg calls them ‘worse than F3 teams’

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto came to the defence of his squad after Nico Rosberg slated their strategy and pit stops.

The 2016 world champion said “Formula 2 teams or F3 teams do a better job at their strategy and pit stops than Ferrari,” in an interview for Sky after yesterday’s Dutch Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jnr fell from third to eighth in the race after two problems in the pits. Ferrari called him in for his first pit stop so late his left-rear tyre wasn’t ready, costing him several seconds.

On a later visit to the pits during a Safety Car period, Sainz was released into the path of Fernando Alonso. The stewards ruled this was unsafe and gave him a five-second time penalty, though Sainz insisted he had lost time because a McLaren mechanic ran in front of him.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto dismissed Rosberg’s criticism after the race. “It’s so easy to speak when you are outside,” he said. “I can do the job as he is doing and everyone can be capable as he’s doing and simply criticise.”

Rosberg called on the team to make changes to its race strategy operation, which Binotto dismissed. “We will not change people, that’s a straight answer to Rosberg.

“We will not change people because we’ve got great people. It has proved that [in] sport what’s more important is simply the stability and make sure that you are improving day by day and race after race.

George Russell, Mercedes and Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Dutch Grand Prix in pictures
“So we’ve got great people in the team, we are a great team, I have no doubt on that. It took years and experience for all teams to be at the front and I think there is no reason why it should be different for ourselves.”

He believes the team’s penalty for Sainz’s last pit stop was “very harsh” but admitted they made an error with his first. Nonetheless Binotto insisted their lack of performance was their biggest weakness at Zandvoort.

“Yes, it has been a very late call trying to react to Lewis with Carlos. It has been a too late call. But I know as he should know as well because he’s an experienced driver it’s a lot easier to address those types of problem rather than the performance.

“That’s why I started discussing the performance itself, because the performance is what counted the most today, at least in my view.”

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2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “No Ferrari staff changes insists Binotto as Rosberg calls them ‘worse than F3 teams’”

  1. I honestly don’t know what Binotto wants. There’s something to be said for a no-blame culture as Mercedes employs. But even that still means being critical of things that can go wrong and ensuring, as a team, that it doesn’t go wrong in the future.

    What Binotto is doing, outwardly at least and maybe this is different behind closed doors, is covering all mistakes with a blanket of denial. Yes, it protects the team members ego’s perhaps, but it isn’t exactly going to fix the errors that were made. At some point you need to be tough as a manager. You need to be fair, but you do need to start implementing fixes. Whether that means switching up the team, putting other people in places where others are failing, or whether it’s just procedural fixes.

    You can’t, however, keep making mistakes on a almost race-by-race basis and keep insisting nothing is wrong. Something is obviously in need of correcting, so best get to it.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      5th September 2022, 14:04

      Based on some during and post race comments made by Hamilton in last 2 years I doubt Lewis got the “no blame culture” memo from Mercedes.

    2. Hamilton has always blamed the team when things don’t go his way. So what culture are you actually talking about??

      1. Better question seems to be, what are you actually talking about?

    3. I’ve resisted until now, trying with all my might to believe the impossible denials and extend the benefit of the doubt, but it must be said that the required and obvious change is where the buck stops, and that’s at Binotto. Furthermore, it must be done immediately, while there is still time this season for new leadership to inculcate the required changes and stiffen up the organizational suspension before heading into the next. Else collective ’23 performance will be as bad, or if possible, worse than ’22, and NONE of us want to witness more of this embarrassment.

  2. “I can do the job as he is doing and everyone can be capable as he’s doing and simply criticise.”

    Mattia Binotto was due to join us on commentary today here in Belgium but unfortunately he accidentally booked a ticket to Brazil. He can’t join via video link sadly as he left his phone and wallet on the plane. We understand he was offered a flight direct to Belgium free of charge but had to make a quick decision and decided to return home by boat instead. He is quoted as saying “it’s easy to criticise my decision but I still believe opting to row home across the Atlantic was the right decision.”

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      5th September 2022, 12:53

      The sass! I love it! A contender for COTD

    2. COTD. Thank you for the laugh.

    3. @petebaldwin Thanks, you put a smile on my face.

  3. Caption for the photo at the top of the article:

    Binotto Denies Leaning Against Fence

    1. If anything the fence is leaning on him. He is merely standing at a jaunty angle and working on a longer term strategy to untangle his cable.

      1. And still he wouldn’t want to change the fence, because it’s a great fence.

  4. Never change, Ferrari. Never change.

  5. Contrary to popular reaction, I like Binotto’s reaction. He is taking the flak and protecting his team.
    For years, under Di Montezemollo, Ferrari had the habit to fire people whenever something went wrong. This developed a culture of fear, where people were scared to lose their job, and just went for the safest path. No innovation, no risk. You can’t win in F1 if you don’t innovate.
    Of course, when things don’t work, changes must be made. Binotto probably should publicly acknowledge the errors, explain how Ferrari will get better and keep protecting his team.

    I’m writing this as a McLaren fan, I really don’t care if they succeed or not, but i found fascinating how they suddenly rose to the top and how their fans are not happy whatsoever.

    1. They rose to the top in terms of the car’s performance, but then they squandered that through bad strategy especially, I won’t mention reliability or driver errors because red bull made those too, and then nowadays even the performance is lacking.

    2. @x303 i agree that not blaming people is healthy but there is a second side of also taking responsibility. In order to improve you need to acknowledge your mistakes and hopefully they are doing this behind the scenes. Adamantly denying any wrong doing makes them look foolish, like Alpine with Piastri. So I agree that Binotto’s current approach is admirable but it’s not optimal.

      Is nice to have great people on staff but if they aren’t producing results or at least improving their calls, they’re either not good enough for F1 or your team dynamics need work.

      Ultimately, he is responsible to and for the team but he’s also responsible to fans. Ferrari strategy has cost us a close championship battle this year and owning up is the least he could do. I’m expecting more errors from Ferrari rather than improvement. Red bull vs Mercedes in 2023 while Ferrari battle Mclaren for 3rd.

  6. Great picture of the merc and RB, big difference between rear wing level.

  7. I find Rosberg’s words about Ferrari being an F3 team extremely offensive… to F3 teams. I said that Ferrari reminded me of myself and a couple of friends when we went karting for the first time together. A bunch of amateurs going racing in the first time of their lives. I would be disappointed if they change anything with regard to racing operations, too much fun to be honest :)

    On a more serious note, Ferrari has been dysfunctional with regard to racing operations since Binotto become in charge. With Arrivabene as a team principle Ferrari weren’t the best of the field, but they weren’t a joke either like they become with Binotto and sometimes they were able to outfox Mercedes in strategy in many races. I have been saying this for the last couple of years, how on earth a casual fan can detect that something isn’t quite right with regard to racing operations and Binotto is fooling himself insisting that no change is needed.

    1. @tifoso1989 It’s quite an interesting one isn’t it. With the switch of leadership, Ferrari became more lovable and less arrogant than they have been in the past. But at the same time, there is a feeling they also became less capable somehow. I don’t know if it comes only from their attitude or is backed up by evidences. Anyway, I think it is good to keep the team together but at some point they need to look at what is going wrong and call a cat a cat. It’s hard to support there isn’t room for improvement at Ferrari. It doesn’t need people to get fired, but it definitely needs investigation and learning from experience and Ferrari hasn’t been convincing lately (for a while), either by their acts or talks.

      Ferrari only 30 points ahead of Mercedes is definitely the best argument towards that Ferrari hasn’t extracted the most out of their package as Binotto tries to pretend, except if someone believes the two teams have been closely matched this year.

      1. I don’t actually think they have gotten worse in that aspect @jeanrien. Ferrari hasn’t been good at strategy probably since about 2007 – they already made some baffling choices then. And again in 2008 some of their pitstop logic certainly did not help them win that title for Massa either. And their mistaken focus on Webber was key to how Alonso got stuck behind Petrov.

        Not to mention they haven’t been able to give both cars a good strategy in any race for decades. Even if they get it right for one, they have either done so by using the other as a test/sacrifice to learn something (yes, I get it, when the stakes are high enough that can be a valid choice) or just plainly seemed to forget or were clueless what to do with them.

        1. @bascb Fair points but I guess that their approach to have clear #1 and #2 in the past helped them and was less messy than it is now.

          That’s probably also something helping RedBull to be honest, especially now that they found a driver that can impede the opposition. Mercedes I have mixed feelings and believe they did relatively well this year to come out with so any points, given a proper shot at victories when given the chance even if some choices are questionable like this weekend. Could Lewis challenge Max on soft? But there is good logic to support their choices. Ferrari is beyond logic at times but with one constant Binotto insisting it was in Ferrari best interest. Trying to be as neutral fan as possible and a bit painful to see the best challenger fall short, maybe that adds a bit on this year events.

          1. Yes, when there is a clear choice to just go for one of the drivers, and then the teams uses both cars to achieve that, it can work really well both for the team and for the lead driver @jeanrien. Both Red Bull and Ferrari have done so quite effectively (and at some times rather haphazardly, leading to a mess, it has to be said) – I was actually wondering whether Perez was used that way in Hungary with his early stop bringing him out right ahead of a Ferrari.

            As you say, currently it is rather baffling what Ferrari are trying to achieve.

            The only thing that MIGHT have helped Lewis, would have been to try and use Russel as a buffer in the hope that Hamilton would have gotten his tyres up to temperature, and Max would have the edge off his fresh softs by then (Lewis not picking the wrong engine setting for the restart would have helped there). Had they given up track position, Max would have just driven off into the distance.

        2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
          6th September 2022, 23:26

          It seems that Ferrari has two modes, strategically speaking; they either hyperfixate on a rival and won’t think for themselves, or they rigidly stick to their own plan, regardless of what is happening around them. It’s bizarre to see.
          Races like Abu dhabi 2010 is a great example of the former and Australia 2016 and hungary this Hungary this year were examples of the latter where they just refused to acknowledge what was happening around them.

  8. I agree with Binotto. Sainz didn’t make an appointment for the first pit stop. You need to make an appointment. Try showing up at your local car service station without an appointment.

    1. @jimfromus They probably lost the appointment. Binotto is just covering for them. Next time it’ll be his dog ate the appointment.

    2. Indeed, not sure what everyone’s about firing people. On the contrary, they should get a raise for being quite expeditive for a no-appointment visit.

  9. The thing I find most frustrating with Ferrari. Is that they did the hard part. Building a race winning car. They turned up at the first round after a sweeping set of regulation changes, bag a 1-2, pole, fastest lap. And you think; ‘wow, they’ve nailed this‘.

    Then they……. well…… we all know it’s been something of a clown show. The sad part is, with the baffling calls. If they didn’t bother at all, turned the computers off and just copied exactly what Red Bull do, as in if Max comes in call Charles in, put the same compound on – they’d actually have more points than they do now.

    They employ an entire department that loses points at the moment.

    1. I don’t like people mentioning a 1-2 in the first race, verstappen was quick enough to get 2nd, although the win was gone, it was only because of reliability ferrari got a 1-2, sainz was generally never fast enough with this car to challenge verstappen, so saying 1-2 distorts the picture of performance.

      Even though it’s insane how many points ferrari threw away this year, we also must admit they got outdeveloped and look at the case both red bull and merc are known to be good developers throughout the season.

    2. I like this summary.

    3. The truth is though your correct. OK their car would operate differently on different tyres but they may as well just copy what either Red Bull or Merc do. Whichever seems most appropriate. No need for their own strategy people, assuming they have someone.

      Maybe they have not developed their car so well but you have to feel this is an opportunity missed. Even if they did not win either title they should be a lot closer.

  10. Excellent picture choice of Binotto by the way…

  11. Two words for Binotto:

    Wheel gun.

  12. On this occasion I think Binotto might be trying to take the pressure off of the team in advance of the Italian GP next weekend. They are bound to be on edge given what’s happened so far. Any major mess-ups there and he will probably be run out of town. Or there would definitely be calls locally for heads to roll.

  13. Probably the first time I’ve ever agreed with Rosberg…
    But don’t forget, Ferrari didn’t make any mistakes! 😉

  14. Rosberg is too kind. The whole shebang reeks of a pathetic clown show. If the teams want to save money, they should all stay home, except Red Bull, and let Max drive one lap around the course and declare him the winner. Luckily, F1 is irrelevant in the grand scheme of what’s going on around the world.

  15. The reaction to Ferrari is always way overblown. Yes, they made an error with Sainz’ tyres. Yes, they’ve made errors in previous races. But just like in 2017 and 2018, people seem to blame them for a boring season. Well, guess who else isn’t challenging Verstappen: Pérez, all of Mercedes, all of Alpine, all of McLaren, all of Alfa Romeo, all of Haas, all of Aston Martin, all of Williams – and never mind Alpha Tauri as they’re just a team, not a competitor.

    It’s unfortunate that nobody is challenging Verstappen, but it’s hardly the first time that happens in F1. Could Ferrari have challenged Verstappen? Maybe, but let’s not forget those two DNFs from the first three races. If that hadn’t happened, Verstappen would likely (and rightly) be seen to be dominating the entire championship.

    Ferrari could have won a couple more races, but it’s been a while since they were genuinely fast enough to challenge. Their drivers are not as flawless as Verstappen, and their strategy team has made some serious mistakes. But either way, whatever one’s misgivings about Binotto and the way he leads Ferrari, he is right about this much: they don’t have the pace in the races and can’t handle the tyres as well as Red Bull, and neither of them can handle them as well as Mercedes. Everything else is largely irrelevant.

  16. Mark in Florida
    5th September 2022, 23:23

    They look like the keystone cops. Running around in a hurry, accomplishing nothing. If you compare the team with how they were when Ross, Todt, Rory Byrne, and Nikolas Tombazis was there. Its like night and day. Other teams wished they had that brain trust. Now they couldn’t call strategies to catch a dog! Its really sad that they have in my opinion squandered the season and opportunities to win and finish much higher than they have. Charles and Carlos have to honestly feel defeated, how can you beat the other guy when your own team is making strategies up for you to only lose. Binotto has to make changes by leaving the team he has brought the Ferrari name into disrepute.

  17. I still don’t get what was wrong with Arrivabene or whoever it was that was there before Binotti. Fire him now and get a foreigner in. The only time Ferrari has been good in the last 50 years was with Todt and a couple times with Montezemilo. Monte must be 90 so get a foreigner from France again. I don’t think an Englishman would have the patience to deal with this disaster.

    1. @darryn Arrivebene managed to alienate the higher-ups at Ferrari, possibly through a combination of insisting his opinion was the only correct one, and making one too many performance promises he couldn’t keep (though we’ll never know the full details, the anti-media attitude that was more broadly criticised at the time almost certainly wasn’t a major factor, if at all). Binotto’s caution earlier in the season may have been to avoid a similar fate.

      Which foreigner from France? It won’t be Jean Todt as he’s more interested in promotion than team management nowadays.

  18. I think there is a huge difference between external and internal communication at Ferrari. Remember the finger and patronizing stance of Binotto towards Charles few races ago. They are all victim of what they have decided to display outwards. They’ve always had an artificial PR strategy and can really be labelled old school and out of date as a company. They failed to enter the 2000’s. Having said that they are still one of my favorite teams and I would love to see them more successful. It is just that their corporate structure gets in their own way.

    1. Their PR’s definitely entered the 2000s – and even the 2010s/2020s – if the Twitter account is anything to go by. Unfortunately I’m getting the impression that not everyone has got the memo.

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