Massa: At Ferrari the tide needs to turn quickly

binotto arrivabene

Traditionally Ferrari have always been under the closest of scrutiny from the Italian media, whose collective power led to many driver and team, principal sackings but, oddly, now with the team in crisis despite a winning car and two superb drivers, the pens are largely silent.

Apart from the wholesale mockery of Mattia Binotto and his ‘invincibles’ on Italian language social media, the big news outlets have been remarkably tight-lipped with their criticism as the team boss appears untouchable and calling the shots at Maranello.

Some Tifosi say today’s mainstream journos have too much to lose in terms of perks to piss off Ferrari aka FIAT, the Agnelli’s, Juventus tickets etc etc

Normally the manner of his covering up the embarrassing defeat in Hungary, and other races Ferrari should have won, appears to make Binotto unaccountable for what are blatant fumbles by his team.

The sport’s most successful team has been infected by some sort of acceptable mediocrity when compared to their immediate rivals Red Bull, or most of the teams on the grid.

With really no more hiding places for Binotto excuses, ex-Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has finally prodded the elephant in the room when he told Bild: “Mattia is a very good engineer and also a very good guy. He understands a lot about the technical side of the sport.

“And as I said, he’s a good guy but ultimately the results don’t add up and even if you can’t blame him entirely, he is partly responsible,” ventured Massa, the Brazilian who spent a decade or so at Maranello.

binotto massa ferrari F1 Winter Testing in Barcelona - Day One

With insider knowledge, Massa’s advice for Binotto and the great Italian team: “Ferrari need to be calmer when making decisions and understand what’s going on because the mistakes in strategy that were made at the beginning of the season are still being made today.

“The tide needs to turn quickly, otherwise they may have to pay the price,” added Massa, perhaps suggesting an alternative to the current boss.

History shows that Binotto popped into the top management position as part of a master plan of the late Sergio Marchionne who ejected Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal, putting Binotto in full charge in what at the time was reported as a powerplay for the helm of the F1 team at Maranello.

Which Ferrari team boss Cesare Fiorio (1989-91) alludes to in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport: “You have to concede to Mattia that he made Ferrari a team that can win every race. Binotto is a great engineer, first as an engine specialist, then as a technical director.

“But his job today is very different and something is obviously wrong at Ferrari, where mistakes are being made, Binotto has to get to the bottom of that.”

With margins between the top three teams so slight, errors are severely punished. Weekend in and weekend out teams have to deliver their A-game constantly and in the full glare of an uncompromising stat driven following, where data available to all on the live feed exposes errors so blatantly.

Kimi+Raikkonen+Felipe+Massa

Hence the universal ridicule that has befallen the team, Binotto the target of numerous memes, from the hilarious winner of the Red Bull Employee of the Month Award to ones far more savoury and nasty.

Fiorio explained the differences between the current era and the ‘old days’ of F1: “In today’s Formula 1, everything has to work almost perfectly in order to win.

“That was different at Ferrari at the time of Todt and Schumacher, they sometimes had such a blatantly superior car that one or the other mistake could be concealed. Today that is no longer possible.” In other words, there is simply nowhere to hide nowadays.

In Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz today’s Ferrari team have an exciting line-up, both race winners and title contenders with the fabulous Ferrari F1-75. But the entire Scuderia need to get their Praning Horses in a row, stop the fumbles and deliver.

Reality check: A driver’s F1 title has not been won since Kimi Raikkonen did it for Ferrari in 2007, a year later he and Massa grabbed the F1 constructors title but nothing else since then despite employing the best of the best during the journey: including Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

Also relatively plentiful have been the team bosses over the past decade and a half: Stefano Domenicali (2008-2014), Marco Mattiacci (2014), Maurizio Arrivabene (2015-2018) and currently Mattia Binotto (2019-to present).