Binotto unhappy with lack of consistency from race control


Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says that the newly reorganised race control team has to become more consistent with its decisions, and said that Ferrari had been losing out in recent races as a result.

The Italian squad protested the result of last month's Monaco GP after the Red Bull cars appeared to cut across the pit lane exit line. It was rejected when it emerged that the race director's notes and the International Sporting Code were contradictory.

Binotto said this was just one example of how the new-look race control operation was still struggling to bed in after former race director Michael Masi was ousted as race director in the wake of the 2021 Abu Dhabi controversy.

He was replaced by a rotating line-up of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, but Binotto says this only adds to the potential of mistakes and confusion - although he's sympathetic to the challenge faced by those involved.

"Certainly not an easy job. I think when you are there and you need to sit and decide, it’s not an easy one," he told the official FIA team principal press conference in Baku last week.

"These guys need some more experience, it’s not something which you learn from the very first race.

"No doubt that so far in the season, sometimes they was no consistency in decisions, I think we cannot deny that. As we cannot deny it's not an easy job, so it will take some time.

"If I look at the start of the season, certainly as Ferrari we cannot be happy with that," he continued. "I think often we have been disadvantaged by decisions.


"But that's the way it is. We understand the difficulty. I think in order to make them improve, we need to help them as well," he added. "We just need to hasten it as much as possible.

"It has to be a collaborative," he said. "[A] collaboration between the teams and the race directors, to make sure they understand, they improve as fast as possible."

Binotto also has problems closer to home, with a double DNF for unrelated technical problems at Baku meaning that neither Charles Leclerc nor Carlos Sainz completed the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

With Red Bull taking victory and second place, it means that the Milton Keynes-based team now has an 80 point advantage over Ferrari in the constructors championship after just eight races.

"Our car is showing and proving to be competitive," Binotto insisted. "And then obviously, in the race, I think it has been a succession of quite difficult situations to be managed on the pit-wall, in terms of strategy."

Leclerc has retired from two of the last three races due to power unit issues, while he finished off the podium in Monaco after a strategy miscue for the team in changeable weather conditions.

"Reliability is always a challenge, especially for a power unit," Binotto said. "You are always trying to look for better performance, increasing performance, but then to ensure the reliability it’s never certainly easy.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari with Mattia Binotto (ITA) Ferrari Team Principal. 28.05.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco

"Our power unit department made, I think, an incredible job from last year to this season in terms of improving the performance and certainly that somehow has affected, or somehow has put at risk the reliability.

"The start of this season has been great [but] we had some issues in the last couple of races, " he admitted. "These are always concerns. I don’t think that we can simply say these are easy ones to be fixed or these are ones somehow you fix in a race only.

"So they are concerns, but I think it’s - as they are concerns, I know that our team is very strong as well in trying to ensure the reliability for the next races, cope with it, try to make sure that in terms of usage we are more protected and for the medium long term, try to address it."

Inevitably the setbacks in recent races have hit team morale, especially coming in the wake of such a stellar start to the season which saw Leclerc claim wins in Bahrain and Melbourne.

Despite claiming four consecutive pole positions since then, Leclerc has only finished once on the podium in Miami, costing him the lead in the drivers championship as well as dropping Ferrari to second in the constructors standings.

"I think his disappointment is our disappointment as well," Binotto said of Leclerc's feelings after the recent run of setbacks. "I think he was certainly disappointed as we were.

"When you need to turn that into positive, I think as a group, as a team, you try to look at what happened and try to have lessons learned, and try really to look forward."

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