Mattia Binotto’s faith in race management and the FIA has not been damaged after the 2021 season finale. In Abu Dhabi, race director Michael Masi made a controversial decision that allowed Max Verstappen to capture the world title. The Ferrari chief says one of the parties involved would come out a loser anyway and praises the FIA’s initiative to conduct an investigation into what could have been done better.
At Autosprint, the Italian looks back on the last race of the 2021 season. “The activities of the FIA are very important in terms of controls and policy compliance. There are three types of regulations, namely technical, sporting and financial. The latter regulations were recently introduced with the budget ceiling.’ Binotto thus begins his story about the incident in a fairly politically correct manner.
“We expect a high level of attention from the FIA, a high degree of control competence in all areas and have complete confidence in the work they are doing,” he continued. With Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the motorsport body also has a new chairman who will also make adjustments in Binotto’s idea. Binotto appears to be at peace with what the future of the FIA looks like.
Binotto in Masi’s shoes
The originally technical man then dives a little deeper into the events in the last race of the year. “What happened in Abu Dhabi was discussed at the most recent meeting in Paris,” he said. “We talked about the race director and the decisions made. The parties directly involved were aware of this.’
“Whatever decision Masi had made, one side would have been dissatisfied,” emphasizes Binotto, who saw his own driver, Carlos Sainz, finish third. “This was unavoidable and I think race management had to make the most difficult choice in the world.” He therefore mainly empathizes with the task that the race management performed and knows that one party would not have been happy with the outcome.
Mercedes initially decided to appeal, but saw no need for it after the FIA promised to look at the decisions Masi made in Abu Dhabi. “Opinions differed about what happened and that is why the FIA has decided to launch an investigation. This does not mean that what has been done is the wrong course of action, but it is being looked at whether something can be improved.’
Ferrari wants to compete with Red Bull and Mercedes
Binotto also immediately spoke about Ferrari’s ambitions in 2022. “It would not be fair to impose the obligation on ourselves to win the world title if you are competing against Mercedes and Red Bull.” He knows that he has two competitors of value in the German and Austrian stables and that is why the 2022 world title seems to be a difficult task.
“We want to return to a level where we can compete for pole positions and wins. That’s what we’re aiming for,” he concludes. Binotto would be happy if the title for Ferrari does not come for another year. After all, they have climbed out of a deep valley, given that the team had developed a mediocre car in 2020 and is slowly scribbling back from it.