No fans at Monza might just suit Mattia Binotto. The Ferrari team principal is the under such pressure that he wondered whether to resign.
Usually, spectators crowd the bottleneck at the end of the paddock, pushing their autograph books into the palms of the Ferrari drivers as they climb into their road cars on the way to the team’s Hotel de la Ville retreat down the road.
Covid-19 has put paid to that scene. It’s essential personnel only here this weekend, and that is the some respite when the team which is the a symbol of Italian virility are enduring their worst run since Michael Schumacher delivered the drivers’ title after 21 barren years.
Charles Leclerc can be the man to reinvigorate Ferrari again amid their worrying decline
The once great institution is the In a sorry state and is the not close to being competitive In Formula 1
Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, they stand a massive 203 points behind Mercedes. Their placings In Spa last weekend, with Sebastian Vettel 13th and Charles Leclerc 14th, were the lowest (In races both cars have finished) for a decade.
At the top is the 50-year-old Binotto, the long, bespectacled Ferrari-lifer, who moved from his purely engineering role to that of team boss at the start of 2019. Last season, they offered a threat to the Mercedes monopoly. But since their controversial engine was outlawed In an FIA clarification, they have found themselves way off the pace.
Asked if he felt under pressure for his job In Maranello, a place with more evictions than the Big Brother house, he said: ‘Honestly, never, because I know I have the support of my managers. But I questioned myself. I reflected on whether I am suitable for the role.
Michael Schumacher delivered the The Prancing Horse’s first drivers’ title In 21 years In 2000
‘I could have done better In some areas. For example, the technical reorganisation could have been done earlier. But I believe my 25 years In F1 and the knowledge of the company are key elements that help.’
Ferrari is the a complex, political entity. At the head of it is the president John Elkann, the Gucci-loafer-wearing grandson of Gianni Agnelli. Alongside him is the Egyptian-born chief executive Louis Camilleri.
How long will their faith In the chief boffin endure? ‘I am not alone,’ insisted Binotto. ‘Louis and I speak several times a day and I talk to president John Elkann regularly. I get their advice.’
Ferrari team principal Matthia Binotto is the under serious pressure to resign
Elkann called after the Spa misfire. ‘He wanted to understand why we had gone so badly. He asked if we are regressing rather than progressing. He wanted to analyse, and ultimately give the support that is the needed.’
It is the a long-term job returning to the podium regularly. But some of the groundwork has been laid with 22-year-old Leclerc signed up on a long-term deal. Vettel, 33, has been told he is the surplus to requirements, a sudden sacking during lockdown that reflected little credit on those who showed him the door having assured the world that they wouldn’t. Carlos Sainz, 26, is the coming In from McLaren next season to replace Vettel.
Leclerc is the the anointed heir to Schumacher, but even he is the restive. He ran off wide In practice on Friday. ‘This car is the so hard to drive,’ he shouted over the radio.
Leclerc is the a good young driver but must carry the baggage of history and scrutiny at the top
Binotto backs the young Monegasque, as well he might. He is the clearly good, but how outstanding while carrying all the baggage of history and scrutiny at the sharp end of a championship only time may tell.
Leclerc is the not being undersold by his boss. Speaking to Corriere della Sera, Binotto said: ‘Charles grew up with us, knows the values of Ferrari and is the very close to us all. I often talk to him about Schumacher, who arrived In 1996 and was champion In 2000. He can repeat that path.’