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Ferrari’s Binotto opens up about Arrivabene split and Mercedes contact

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says divergences between himself and former Scuderia boss Maurizio Arribanene on the team’s internal management led to the latter’s ousting.

Last summer, rumors of a simmering conflict between the top two Ferrari men started swirling around the F1 paddock.

Arrivabene dismissed the stories as ‘fake news’, but the divide between the Italian and the Scuderia‘s techncial director was indeed growing.

Despite the efforts of Ferrari president John Elkann to defuse tensions, things came to a head at the start of the year with the announcement of Arrivabene‘s departure from the House of Maranello and Binotto taking over the reins of the Scuderia.

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“I felt I was no longer in a position to do my job well and I made it known,” explained Binotto in an interview with the Corriere della Sera.

“This was not a difficulty I was experiencing alone but also related to the whole group because even if a technical director does not work at his best, everything is reflected in those he manages.”

With a conflict brewing at the Italian squad at the end of last season, news filtered that Binotto had been courted by Mercedes.

“Yes, it’s true: other teams have been in touch with me because my experience has value in F1,” he admitted

“I’m a Ferrari fan since I was a child. I’ve never thought of another team except Ferrari.”

Asked to clarify why he had found himself at odds with Arrivabene, the Swiss blamed the dissension on the two men’s very different conceptions of how the Scuderia should be managed.

“Working here for 25 years I was lucky enough to live those glorious moments with Todt, Brawn and Schumacher. And then with Stefano Domenicali,” explained Binotto.

“I have always learned from everyone, even from Maurizio and I thank him for this.

“The personal relationship has always been good.

“Never a fight, the difficulties involved the vision, the management of the group or a race weekend. We had different points of view.”

Speaking about his rapid rise through the ranks at Ferrari over the years, Binotto paid tribute to former Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne, the man who orchestrated his forward march.

“He had already promoted me to head the engines in 2014 but I think with the second nomination he wanted to break the mould, not only here at Ferrari but in F1,” said Binotto.

“He chose a technical director who had never designed a car. It was a gamble that had to do with this horizontal organization, with which we continue to work with.

“As a manager, you can no longer go into detail and automatically empower people.

“It is not Binotto’s machine, it belongs to everyone: the artist, the painter, the driver… collaborators become protagonists.”

Marchionne’s passing last summer was a big blow for Ferrari, but Binotto cherishes the values and lessons taught to him by the iconic automotive executive.

“Do not set limits. Give us the goal of reaching the impossible,” he said.

“It was his constant motivation, to try to do something that remains in history, either personally or of this sport.”

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