Mattia Binotto has resigned as Ferrari team principal and will leave his post on 31 December following four seasons at the helm of the Italian team.
Ferrari finished second in last season’s constructors’ championship, while Charles Leclerc ended the year as runner-up to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings. But Binotto is moving on following a catalogue of Ferrari errors which dented Leclerc’s charge for the title.
“With the regret that this entails, I have decided to conclude my collaboration with Ferrari,” said Binotto, who joined Ferrari in 1995. “I am leaving a company that I love, which I have been part of for 28 years, with the serenity that comes from the conviction that I have made every effort to achieve the objectives set.
“I leave a united and growing team. A strong team, ready, I’m sure, to achieve the highest goals, to which I wish all the best for the future. I think it is right to take this step at this time as hard as this decision has been for me.
“I would like to thank all the people at the Gestione Sportiva who have shared this journey with me, made up of difficulties but also of great satisfaction.”
Ferrari said that a process to identify Binotto’s successor is “under way”.
Reports in Italy earlier this month suggested Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur is in line to replace Binotto. At the time, Ferrari dismissed the report as “totally without foundation”.
Ross Brawn, who has left his role as Formula One motorsport boss, was another name mooted to take over from Binotto. But the Englishman, 68, who helped to mastermind Michael Schumacher’s five consecutive world championships with Ferrari at the turn of the century, confirmed on Monday that he is retiring from the sport.
Leclerc won two of the opening three races this year to provide Ferrari with hope they could end a drivers’ championship drought which stretches back to 2007. But the Monegasque took to the top step of the podium on only one other occasion following a series of mechanical and strategy errors.
Ferrari chief executive Benedetto Vigna said: “I would like to thank Mattia for his many great contributions over 28 years with Ferrari and particularly for leading the team back to a position of competitiveness during this past year.
“As a result, we are in a strong position to renew our challenge, above all for our amazing fans around the world, to win the ultimate prize in motorsport. Everyone here at the Scuderia and in the wider Ferrari community wishes Mattia well for the future.”