7 January 2019
Ferrari confirms Binotto
Scuderia Ferrari has confirmed this evening that Maurizio Arrivabene is to leave the team and will be replaced as team principal by Switzerland's Mattia Binotto, who has been in charge of all technical matters for the last couple of years.
Binotto has been with Ferrari since 1995, joining as an engineer with the test team, after graduating from the Ecole Poletechnique Federale de Lausanne, followed by a Masters degree at the Enzo Ferrari Department of Engineering at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
He joined the race team in 1997 and remained as an engineer until 2004 when he moved over to engine development, becoming chief engineer in 2007. In 2009 he headed the development of engines and energy recovery systems and became head of F1 engines in 2014. In 2016 he replaced James Allison as Chief Technical Officer.
The company said that the decision was taken "after lengthy discussions related to Maurizio’s long term personal interests as well as those of the team itself". While Arrivabene has been easy to criticise, he has done a better job than many thought he would, and has struggled with Ferrari's internal politics, following many of the diktats passed down to him by the late chairman Sergio Marchionne, who adopted a strange strategy towards the outside world, seeking to ignore the media, rather than trying to work with them.
When Marchionne died last summer, Arrivabene very rapidly reversed that strategy, knowing as a longtime tobacco promotions man, that communication was vital. However, someone had to carry the can for the failure to win the World Championship in 2018 and he accepted that as team boss, it was his responsibility, hoping to protect the team from usual outside pressures, which make Ferrari such a difficult operation to run. It will be interesting to see whether Binotto, with his quite, easy-going style will be able to achieve things that Arrivabene failed to do. One of the keys to success in F1 is stability and Ferrari has now had four team principals in less than five years, which is perhaps something that the team owners need to think about in the future. It remains to be seen what Binotto will do in terms of restructuring the team.