Mattia Binotto has received significant criticism over Ferrari's performance in the past few months. Despite having arguably the fastest car on the grid, the Italian constructor has produced poor results in the first half of the 2022 F1 season.
Former F1 driver Felipe Massa now feels that Binotto needs to turn things around quickly. While Massa defended the Italian's character and talent, he made it amply clear that consequences are likely to follow if Ferrari continue to make unforced errors for the remainder of the season.
On Sky Sports F1's Any Driven Monday, the former Ferrari driver said:
“At the end, you understand that the result is not coming the way it should. We cannot definitely blame [Binotto], but at the end, we need to say that he’s part of it. They definitely need to be a little bit more calm for the decisions and understand what is not happening, because many mistakes that happened at the beginning of the season in terms of strategy are still happening. This is something that cannot [happen]. He needs to change things in a quick way, otherwise he can pay for it.”
Massa, however, also reflected on his previous years of working with Binotto, emphasizing that the Ferrari boss is a "very professional" person. He said:
“I know him very well. I raced for him already and we worked together for a very long time. He was an engineer of the engines and then he became the boss of the engine side. When he [became] the Technical Director, and also Team Principal, I was not there anymore. But he’s a very good engineer. He’s a very professional guy. He understands a lot on the technical side. He’s also a good guy, to be honest. I like him as a person as well.”
Ferrari boss claims he tries to "empower" people around him
Mattia Binotto's leadership style has come under plenty of scrutiny recently. Many have suggested that Ferrari's strategy team and the Italian himself be fired from their roles for their poor performances in 2022. Binotto, however, has defended his team, claiming that strategy is "not a weakness" for them this year.
Speaking to Motorsport, the 52-year-old reflected upon his leadership style and his endeavor to empower those around him, saying:
“I think I’m empowering the people which are around me. I think I’m not brutal, but I’m strict. And people around me know that I can be very strict. But I think more than that, I’m trying always to empower them, and give them all what’s required to do their job. And I trust the people around me. I’m not the one that will go into the detail of every single element. I more focus on myself, making sure that, as I said before, they have got whatever is required to do the job.”
“I know how important is the mood in the team, I know how important is the mental approach and the culture. We are working a lot on it inside of the team, trying to change our culture compared to what it was us, and what we believe is the right attitude and behaviours to put in place. I can see that the team is somehow very united and I think that you can get that through transparency. Even I think you need to be smart as well, sometimes transparent and genuine.”
Ferrari started the 2022 F1 season on a very strong note with two wins within the first three races. Poor strategy and reliability issues, however, have cost the Scuderia significant championship points, giving Red Bull and Max Verstappen a rather comfortable lead.