The time looks to have run out on Mattia Binotto’s time at Ferrari.
Speculation of his departure from the Italian based Formula 1 team ramped up in the latter stages of the 2022 season and since the Abu Dhabi finale the rumours have only continued.
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Binotto’s replacement at the helm of Ferrari emerged on the eve of the season finale with the man himself being questioned on the reports.
“Obviously when this speculation came out, I had a chat with my chairman, John Elkann,” said Binotto.
“We discussed openly what was the best way to move forward. We decided to release a statement was maybe the best way to close any speculation. Clearly there is speculation, but totally with no foundation.”
The team attempted to squash the rumours, but they’ve failed to die down with the latest reports indicating the move is now imminent.
A report from Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera indicated Binotto was on the brink of falling on his sword and walking away from the team.
The story noted that negotiations between senior management and Binotto were well underway with the two parties negotiating on the terms of his departure.
Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur is rumoured as the man to replace Binotto as the shot caller in the Ferrari garage.
Ferrari started the 2022 season in scintillating fashion as Charles Leclerc led the championship after winning two of the opening three races.
But the team continually shot themselves in the foot with horror strategy decisions that cost them serious points.
Tensions between Binotto and Leclerc became so strained it was reported the team’s number one driver was no longer on speaking terms with the team boss.
The team was in complete disarray following a disastrous Brazilian Grand Prix which was dominated by strategic errors and criticism of the underperforming team.
A bombshell report by L’Équipe claims the Monegasque driver has been disgruntled towards the team principal since the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July after he was publicly scolded by Binotto.
Leclerc spoke publicly about the moment, revealing Binotto had been “pissed off” that the 25-year-old had been so dejected after the race.
Leclerc had been leading the race until a late safety car triggered a flurry of pit stops. Leclerc was told to stay out on the track but the decision appeared to blow up in his face as he was overtaken by several cars in the final laps. To rub salt into the wound, teammate Carlos Sainz won the race having benefited from a late pit stop.
Leclerc finished fourth. Binotto was seen by cameras wagging his finger at Leclerc in the Formula 1 paddock behind the pit straight after the race.
“He was actually pissed off at me because I was too down, and so he was trying to cheer me up,” Leclerc said.
“Everybody was wondering why he was putting the finger like this, but I think he was just frustrated to see me so down after such a great race.”
Veteran Ferrari journalist Leo Turrini has also reported Leclerc and Binotto do not have a “fluid” relationship.
Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport has also claimed Binotto was going to pay the price for a series of strategic errors that saw the wheels come off the team’s world championship challenge.