A statement from Ferrari on Tuesday confirmed the 53-year-old will leave the team on December 31 after a three-year reign. While a successor was not named, Ferrari said the process to identify a replacement is underway and is expected to be finalised “in the new year”.
Ferrari now faces the task of finding a suitable candidate who is not only available, but also willing, to head F1’s most famous organisation, something which has been considered a poisoned chalice - rather than a privilege - in recent times.
So, who could become Ferrari’s fourth team principal in eight years?
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Current boss of the Ferrari-linked Alfa Romeo, Frederic Vasseur, has been widely tipped as the favourite to succeed Binotto at Maranello.
Through his work at Renault and Alfa Romeo, Vasseur has earned a respected reputation for being an effective and no-nonsense team leader.
The Frenchman has never before had a job with the kind of stakes that come with leading Ferrari, but is regarded as the ideal replacement for Binotto to bring some much-needed stability to the Italian outfit.
Vasseur’s strong relationship with Charles Leclerc, who he managed during the Monegasque’s meteoric rise through the junior categories - and in his rookie F1 season at Sauber - is considered to be a real asset.
Relations between Leclerc and Binotto are believed to have soured amid a catalogue of strategic and reliability errors during Ferrari’s failed 2022 title bid, even to the extent Leclerc’s camp were reportedly pushing for a change of guard.
Ferrari are desperate to keep Leclerc on side and ward off potential interest from Mercedes, who will be starting to think about Lewis Hamilton’s long-term successor.
Ferrari didn’t do too badly the last time they had a French team boss…
Like Vasseur, another no-nonsense manager can be found in Andreas Seidl.
Seidl does not like to get involved in F1 politicking, at least not publicly, and has impressed during his relatively short tenure at McLaren, guiding the team’s revival from the doldrums of their mid-to-late 2010s slump.
With Ferrari eyeing escape from a similar period of stagnation to end their long wait for F1 silverware, could Seidl provide the answer the team have been looking for?
The German is thought to be high on Ferrari’s list of targets, though reports in Italy suggest an approach has already proven unsuccessful.
Another obvious option for Ferrari to consider would be Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
After years of struggles in the V6 hybrid era, Red Bull, under Horner’s leadership, successfully broke Mercedes and Hamilton’s unchallenged run of F1 supremacy in 2021, and have gone on to win back-to-back drivers’ world titles, as well as their first constructors’ championship since 2013.
Horner was among the many respected figures in the F1 paddock that Ferrari reportedly spoke to about becoming their new team principal. However, according to RacingNews365, he rejected the chance.
Horner is understood to remain fully focused and committed to Red Bull’s project, with his influence at Milton Keynes only likely to expand following the passing of founder Dietrich Mateschitz.
A wildcard move could see Ferrari try to convince Ross Brawn to remain in F1 and return to the place he enjoyed some of his greatest success.
Brawn was an integral part of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher’s dominance of F1 as the team’s former technical director, before going on to spearhead Brawn GP’s double title-winning campaign in 2009 and later holding a frontline role at Mercedes.
Re-hiring Brawn would certainly be a nostalgic move from Ferrari, but they would have to do some serious head-turning given Brawn has effectively ruled himself out of another job after retiring from his F1 management role.
“I’ve loved almost every minute of my 46-year career and I’ve been fortunate to have worked with many great teams, great drivers and great people,” Brawn wrote in his final column for the official F1 website. “I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
“I will now watch F1 from my sofa, cheering and cursing as an F1 fan, pleased that the sport is in a fantastic place and has such a fantastic future.”
A hire from within?
If Ferrari were unable to find a suitable replacement, or be unsuccessful in their attempts to entice one from a rival team, the Scuderia could always look closer to home.
Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna is set to oversee the F1 team while the search for a successor is ongoing, but could he end up taking up the role on a permanent basis?
Current Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies has deputised for Binotto on several occasions when the latter has missed a grand prix. He could move into the role full-time if Ferrari opted to promote from within.
Antonello Coletta, who is the head of Ferrari’s Sports and GT operation, is also said to be an option being considered for the top ranking position at the F1 team.