Formula 1 sporting boss Ross Brawn has backed new Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto to succeed in his new role, adding his appointment will create a calm atmosphere at the team.
Ferrari reshuffled its leadership structure over the winter as it chose to ditch Maurizio Arrivabene and promote Binotto from technical director to team boss.
Under Arrivabene’s reign, Ferrari became a very tense atmosphere behind the scenes with his no nonsense approach, a factor in its defeat in the battle for the title last year.
Brawn, who worked alongside Binotto at the Italian outfit, says his former colleague is “very pragmatic” and has already noticed a different mood at Ferrari.
“I spent some time in the garage [at testing] – nice calm atmosphere, constructive working,” said Brawn, as quoted by BBC Sport.
“Knowing Mattia Binotto very well, he’s an engineer, like me, so he will see things in a certain way. He can get emotional like all of us but he is very structured and I think we are going to see a new calm about Ferrari in the coming season.”
Ferrari’s pace in pre-season testing has seen it tagged as early favourites for the championship in 2019, clocking the fastest laptime over two weeks of running.
The team has finished runner-up to Mercedes in the last two years despite having a car capable of winning titles, the Scuderia’s last was 12 years ago.
“Ferrari has looked pretty good from the beginning but it has had a few reliability issues that it needs to get on top of,” Brawn said on Ferrari’s performance in testing.
“Mercedes looked a little bit out of sorts but they’ll get it sorted out. They are a very strong team, there is some very smart people there and they will work out what they need to do.”
The arrival of Charles Leclerc has many believing the Monegasque driver can push his four-time world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel hard this season.
While Brawn too reckons Leclerc can “unsettle” Vettel in the team, he feels the German still has what it takes to be champion for a fifth time.
“Sebastian is more than capable of winning the world championship,” he said. “And with the calmness about the team I suspect they’ll have, and the car looks good, so I think they have every chance this year.”