Ferrari F1 veteran Arnoux would have fired Binotto 'years ago'


Former Ferrari F1 driver René Arnoux has taken aim at departing Scuderia chief Mattia Binotto, who should have been fired by "years ago" by the Italian outfit according to the Frenchman.

Binotto has paid the price for the operational weakness and reliability issues suffered by Ferrari in 2022.

The Scuderia hit the ground running at the start of its campaign, positioning itself along with driver Charles Leclerc as a genuine contender for the world title, only for team and driver to see their chances squandered by a string of mistakes and basic strategy errors that opened up a royal route to the world crown to Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

Arnoux, who raced for two full seasons with Ferrari and won three races with the Italian team, was unimpressed to say the least with Binotto's handling of his outfit's troubles.

"I didn’t like seeing a very competitive Ferrari let the Championship slip away because we started well," commented Arnoux, speaking to Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It’s true that there was no reliability, but we lost some grands prix almost as if we had done it on purpose.

"The mistakes he [Binotto] made for me in Formula 1 are unforgivable. I’ve never been on Binotto’s side. Someone who says ‘It will be better next year, it will be better next year’, doesn’t deserve that place.

"I would have fired him several years ago, I’ve said it several times. Behaviour like his is intolerable when you are at the head of the most beautiful team in the world."

Binotto took the helm of Ferrari after his predecessor Maurizio Arrivabene's demise in early 2019, with the former cumulating the roles of technical director and team principal.

"Bringing the two roles together was a mistake," Arnoux said. "In today’s hyper-specialised Formula 1 you can’t do everything."

In the early days of January, Fred Vasseur, Binotto's successor, will step up to the mantle and take over the Scuderia's management, and Arnoux reckons that the former Sauber boss's working entourage at Ferrari will be critical.

"Vasseur has to find the right people," added Arnoux. "You don’t have to know how to make a gearbox or an engine. [Jean] Todt didn’t care.

"You must have the right, competent people in the right place. And then manage them.

"When you have Ross Brawn as technical director and then Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli you just have to make them work well. As Todt did and as Vasseur must do.

"I met him, I spoke to him, but not enough to say whether it’s right or not. We have seen the results he has achieved with a mid-range team like Alfa.

"But managing Alfa in Switzerland and managing Ferrari are very different things."

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