Ferrari Ousts Outspoken Arrivabene, Promotes Mattia Binotto to F1 Team Principal
Scuderia Ferrari announced Monday that team principal Maurizio Arrivabene will depart the team, relinquishing his duties to chief technical officer Mattia Binotto effective immediately. Binotto will, in turn, make it his mission to earn the Scuderia a drivers or constructors' championship in 2019.
"After four years of untiring commitment and dedication, Maurizio Arrivabene is leaving the team," explained the Scuderia in a release. "The decision was taken together with the company's top management after lengthy discussions related to Maurizio's long term personal interests as well as those of the team itself."
Arrivabene and Binotto were reported by Autosport to have butted heads over the direction of the Scuderia. Arrivabene has allegedly been accused of cultivating a toxic work environment by blaming the team's technical wing for the Scuderia's failure to secure championship wins in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, despite Binotto-led car development resulting in the two most competitive Ferraris of the last decade. While both the SF70H and SF71H have had their shortcomings, Ferrari's title bids over the last two seasons have also been hampered by pit wall and driver failures.
Ferrari's race strategists and pit wall have blown race wins with consistency, and its drivers have underperformed with frustrating regularity. Sebastian Vettel has spun at several crucial Grands Prix (Italy 2018, USA 2018, Japan 2018), and made confusing blunders at others (Azerbaijan 2017, Japan 2018) that have tarnished faith in him. Kimi Räikkönen's single race win, two poles, and countless lost opportunities across 41 races have resulted in his replacement by Charles Leclerc for the 2019 season.
A combination of these has meant that Ferrari has won neither the world drivers' nor world constructors' championship since its 2008 triumph when the F2008 won the constructors' title. In its now decade-long title drought, the Scuderia has become desperate to return to winning form and has burned through team principals faster than any other team on the grid in the V6 era. Scuderia Ferrari started 2014 with Stefano Domenicali at the helm, replacing him in April of that year with Marco Mattiacci, who in turn waved goodbye in November when Arrivabene replaced him. Now, Arrivabene departs, and relinquishes his role to Binotto.
Dating back to 1995, Binotto's longstanding relationship with the team means his understanding of the Scuderia's internal politics is unrivaled, and his ability to lead has been proved by his management of the team's technical department. Ferrari might not need to wait much longer to secure its long-awaited championship win.