The news is official that Maurizio Arrivabene is out of Ferrari and Mattia Binotto is succeeding him. Scuderia Ferrari will be hoping that the Swiss-born Italian will lead them to glory. However, helming a team of Ferrari’s stature will not be easy and Binotto will have plenty of hurdles to face.
Restoring the Tifosi Faith
Back in 2018, when Kimi Raikkonen snatched pole position in Monza, the fans were quite ecstatic. The roar from the grandstands could be heard for miles around. There was likely an even bigger cheer when Raikkonen won his first race in nearly five years. With Sebastian Vettel faltering and Ferrari’s decison-making all over the place, order was needed. While Arrivabene was an excellent team boss, there was only so much that he could do.
With Binotto at the helm, he will have to restore the faith that the adoring tifosi have in them. Ferrari’s last driver’s title was back in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen and their last constructors title was in 2008. So, can Binotto succeed where Arrivabene failed?
Handling LeClerc’s Ambition
This is one of the rare occasions where Ferrari have fielded a young driver in their lineup. Charles LeClerc will be partnering 4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. The Monaco driver has stated his ambition to win races and possibly challenge for the title. As a team principal, it will be Binotto’s job to deliver a title-challenging car to the fresh young blood and the quadruple world champion.
Also, since LeClerc is a young driver, he will obviously be raring to go and be aggressive. Binotto will need to rein him in and prevent him from being too rash and cocky.
Vettel vs LeClerc
With two talented drivers in the same team, everyone knew that this was coming. Since Ferrari are notorious for implementing the infamous ‘Number 1-Number 2’ status, it will be hard to decide who should be who. Sebastian Vettel would prefer that LeClerc make way for him. However, Charles does not seem the type to settle for the wingman status. God forbid if we ever face another Hamilton-Alonso 2007 situation again.
Binotto will have his work cut out trying to quell the ego clash between the two. This is because, if the two begin to feud, it will allow their rivals to get away from them. At least when Raikkonen was there, he knew the lay of the land and played the team game. With LeClerc and Vettel, it is highly unlikely that the two will follow the strategy unless Binotto and Ferrari put their feet down.
Righting the Boat After Marchionne’s Passing
When Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne passed away in July 2018, Ferrari would be lying if they said it hadn’t affected them. Marchionne was the glue that held the team together. He was a central figure in the current power play surrounding what happens to F1 beyond 2020.
Now, there will be a massive change as the Italian team adjusts with their new CEO, John Elkann. Binotto will have to be very strong-willed to keep the team afloat in the era after Marchionne.
Filling in the Void Left by Arrivabene
Despite the lack of results, Arrivabene was no slouch. Ever since Jean Todt stepped down at the end of 2007, his successor, Stefano Domenicali lasted for 7 years. After his dismissal, the team have gone through two more bosses in the span of five years. Domenicali’s replacement, Marco Mattiacci lasted only six months before Arrivabene took over.
In the five years that Arrivabene helmed the team, Ferrari has met with considerable success. Binotto has big shoes to fill when the 2019 season commences, hopefully, he will be the breath of fresh air that Ferrari needs.