A horror show season for Ferrari meant that heads must roll, and that head was team principal, Mattia Binotto. While he had resigned rather than be fired, it is clear that both the fans and the team blame him for Ferrari’s shortcomings in 2022. Now that he is gone, who will replace him and will his departure potentially undo the progress that the team have made?
Rumours, or as some have called them ‘sources’, have suggested that Ferrari have been looking to replace Binotto since 2021. The reason this has been suggested is that former Ferrari CEO, Louis Camilleri, and Binotto were big supporters of each other. But when the CEO resigned in 2020, it was suggested that Binotto’s job security dropped dramatically. That’s the short version. Whatever the internal situation was at Ferrari, it’s done now, Binotto is gone. So who’s next?
The most likely option to replace Binotto is Frederic Vasseur, current team principal of Alfa Romeo. Vasseur is a very experienced man. He led Renault (Alpine), played a large part in the turnaround of Alfa Romeo, and has personal racing experience. Overall, Vasseur has 25 years of experience running motorsport teams and operations.
It’s been suggested that Vasseur will take the role as he is worried about his own position at Alfa Romeo now that Audi will take over the team in 2026. However, why Audi would get rid of Vasseur is unclear, especially considering that the merger won’t take place for years and it was Vasseur himself who helped to arrange the deal.
Vasseur is a conservative leader who can get results, but does a frontrunning team need someone like that? Would it be better to get someone in who is willing to take risks? Perhaps Ferrari will wish to bring someone in who wouldn’t change what Binotto had impressively set-up at Ferrari i.e., a new work culture, the best simulator on the grid, an improved wind-tunnel etc.
Ferrari may just want someone who knows what they are doing without the need to change things dramatically as the team have already gone through dramatic changes to get where they are now and Vasseur may just be the man for the job.
Ross Brawn is an F1 legend. His career is one of the most successful in the history of the sport. He helped set-up the dominating force that was Mercedes during the turbo-hybrid era. He’s won titles with Ferrari before during the Schumacher era. Why not bring him on? Well, for one, he has retired. At 71 years old, the man has little reason to return to the sport given his already impressive legacy. Bringing Brawn back seems more like fan-fiction written to suggest he could bring Ferrari back to its glory days rather than a realistic option.
Andreas Seidl is the current McLaren team principal, and he was responsible for getting McLaren back on their feet after the Honda partnership disaster. However, seeing as he is so involved with McLaren, one has to ask why he’d bother to leave? If everyone knows how good Seidl is, so does McLaren. He probably has a long-term contract with them or perhaps even some loyalty to the historic team. This one seems one of the least likely candidates.
As it stands, no successor has been announced and no one really knows for sure. We will keep you updated as more information comes in, but we likely won’t have any answers until 2023.
For more, George Russell discusses his infamous crash with Valtteri Bottas at Imola 2021.