Ferrari risks overloading Binotto with responsibility - Berger
Ferrari must ensure its Formula 1 team boss Mattia Binotto is not overwhelmed by his responsibilities and consider recruiting a secondary figure to help deal with politics, says Gerhard Berger.
Binotto, formerly Ferrari’s technical director, was promoted to the overall leadership of the Scuderia at the start of 2019, replacing Maurizio Arrivabene in the role.
While Ferrari was widely judged to have been the benchmark outfit in pre-season testing, it has failed to win any of the first three grands prix of the season – which have all been won by Mercedes – and its drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc trail Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.
Berger, who won five grands prix for Ferrari during his two stints at Maranello in 1987-89 and 1993-95, contrasted the structure at the team with Mercedes and Red Bull, which both have multiple figureheads.
Asked for his opinion of Binotto, the Austrian said: “The usual thing with Ferrari is, someone getting the responsibility, and getting all responsibility.
“Because when you look at Red Bull, you have this genius Adrian Newey. You have a capable [team boss] Christian Horner. Then you have the shark Helmut Marko.
“Then you look to Mercedes: Toto [Wolff], very capable. You have the genius on the engine side, Andy Cowell. And you have Niki [Lauda], unfortunately not here now [recovering from a recent bout of flu].
“At Ferrari you see [only] Binotto. I don’t know if this is enough.
“I think Binotto is a great technician. It’s just [important] he doesn’t use too much time for maybe political discussion or whatever, and then running out of time for the main [thing he’s good at].”
Berger also pointed out that Ferrari ensured responsibility was spread across a number of senior personnel during its late 1990s/early 2000s heyday with Michael Schumacher.
Both Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne moved to the Italian squad from Benetton a year after Schumacher departed at the end of 1995, the pair of technical gurus working under team boss Jean Todt (pictured below in 2004).
“One of his big strengths was he knew how to put people together to get the maximum out of them,” said Berger of Schumacher.
“When he went to Ferrari and said, ‘Ross, you’re coming with me, Rory, you’re coming with me.’ In this he was very good, and in this he has an advantage over Sebastian [Vettel]. Michael was fantastic in collecting people for his team.
“Again you had three people: you had Rory, the genius of the time, you had Ross, and you had Jean Todt, who dealt with the political side and the regulations.
“I just don’t know who is gonna take certain roles in Ferrari, because if it’s all on Binotto, it’s gonna be a bit heavy.”
Paolo Martinelli, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt and Rory Byrne with the new Ferrari F2004
Photo by: Ferrari Media Center
McLaren knows it still faces "long road" to F1 recovery
Debate: Do you support an F1 qualifying shake-up?