Mattia Binotto says he is “relaxed” amid speculation over his future as Ferrari Formula 1 team principal, which he insists has “no foundation”.
Ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Binotto was set to leave his post in January next year, with Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur tipped to replace him.
In the wake of the reports, Ferrari issued a statement addressing the rumours, stating they were “totally without foundation”.
In Saturday morning’s FIA press conference in Abu Dhabi, Binotto revealed he had sat down with Ferrari chairman John Elkann after the reports emerged, in which they decided to issue the statement.
“Obviously when this speculation came out, I had a chat with my chairman, John Elkann,” said Binotto, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“We discussed openly what was the best way to move forward. We decided to release a statement was maybe the best way to close any speculation.
“Clearly there is speculation, totally with no foundation.”
Binotto added that it was important to “not be distracted” by the rumours, as he called for the focus to be on the team and the final race of the season.
He took over as Ferrari team boss from Maurizio Arrivabene in 2019, guiding the team through a difficult period where it went two consecutive seasons without a victory, to early title contention at the start of this year.
But Ferrari’s dramatic tail off in form saw its championship hopes disappear, with the Italian outfit currently on a winless streak since July’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Asked if he could confirm he would resume his post as Ferrari boss in 2023, Binotto replied: “Obviously it’s not down to me to decide, but I’m pretty relaxed.
“The reason why I’m relaxed is that I’m always having open, frank and constructive discussions with my bosses, with my chairman, not only for the short-term but the medium and the long-term.
“More than that, I think if I look back on the season, yes we had a few up and downs.
“Today we have not the fastest car on-track. But I think we achieved our main objective which was to be back and to be competitive, and that we know the 2022 cars.”
While Binotto accepts there is plenty of work for Ferrari to do over the winter break, he believes there are positives it can take from this season.
“The team back at the factory is fully focused on the 2023, trying to improve,” said Binotto.
“Furthermore, I think this season has been outstanding in terms of pole positions, qualifying pace.
“[It was] not as good in terms of race pace, so we need to somehow improve furthermore the race pace, because then strategy or whatever is around it will be easier if you have a strong car in the race itself.
“So yes, I’m relaxed, I’m more than that. I’m really focused on what we need to do and concentrate with the team.”