Finding a new Team Principal will be added to the to-do list for Ferrari this summer following the resignation of Mattia Binotto this evening.
In a tenure plagued by reliability issues, underperforming cars and occasional strategy errors, Binotto has become a recognisable figure in the paddock, often in defence of his team.
The issues of the past few seasons have fueled rumours for the past few weeks that the Swiss-born Italian was on the way out, Ferrari denying that speculation.
Now Binotto has made the move himself, announcing his resignation in a statement issued by the team.
“With the regret that this entails, I have decided to conclude my collaboration with Ferrari,” it began.
“I am leaving a company that I love, which I have been part of for 28 years, with the serenity that comes from the conviction that I have made every effort to achieve the objectives set.
“I leave a united and growing team. A strong team, ready, I’m sure, to achieve the highest goals, to which I wish all the best for the future.
“I think it is right to take this step at this time as hard as this decision has been for me.”
Mixed results have been the order of business since the 53-year-old took the helm in 2019. Mercedes were the dominant force that year, but Ferrari made them work on occasion to finish second in the Constructor Standings.
The following season, 2020, was where the wheels truly began to unravel.
They only claimed three podiums that year, two for Charles Leclerc and one for Sebastian Vettel, and finished a lowly sixth in the team standings.
After such a poor showing, it was a given heads would roll, Vettel the one cut from the team to be replaced by Carlos Sainz.
Sainz took time to adjust to the change but it was a step towards the front for the Italian outfit who finished third but far off the pace of Red Bull and Mercedes.
A new season this year brought new hope, the team finally with a better car than bitter rivals Mercedes and Leclerc leading the championship early with two wins in the first three rounds.
Things were put in perspective shortly thereafter, Red Bull running away with the title in a display of dominance. Once again, the issues of old plagued the team, reliability, pace and strategy the downfall.
The rumours of his departure came about after Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna was said to have lost faith in his Team Principal following the continuation of these issues. Despite their issues, Vigna also issued a statement in regard to the announcement today.
“I would like to thank Mattia for his many great contributions over 28 years with Ferrari and particularly for leading the team back to a position of competitiveness during this past year,” he said.
“As a result, we are in a strong position to renew our challenge, above all for our amazing fans around the world, to win the ultimate prize in motorsport. Everyone here at the Scuderia and in the wider Ferrari community wishes Mattia well for the future.”
Binotto signed with Ferrari in 1995, straight out of university, to join the engine department. He stayed in this role for some 18 years before promotion to become department head.
Just three years in that position was all it took for him to become Chief Technical Officer in 2016 before stepping up to Team Principal in 2019, replacing Maurizio Arrivabene.
Binotto has become one of the more familiar faces in the paddock, assisted by significant screen time in the “Drive to Survive” reality series.
It’s expected the team will announce his successor in the new year. Frederic Vassuer, boss of the Ferrari-linked Alfa Romeo, is the most tipped replacement.