MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has admitted questioning his role while Formula One’s oldest and most successful team endure one of their worst seasons in decades.
The Italians have not won a world championship since taking the constructors’ title in 2008 and are languishing in fifth place overall ahead of a home Italian Grand Prix at Monza that threatens to plumb new depths.
In Belgium last weekend, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel failed to qualify or finish in the top 10 and the team are now a massive 203 points adrift of dominant Mercedes after seven races.
Binotto, who has spent his whole career at Maranello, told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper on Friday that Ferrari chairman John Elkann had called him to understand why it had gone so badly.
He said he had never felt his job was in danger, however, because he knew he was supported by those above him and was not alone.
“But I questioned myself, I reflected on whether I can be suitable for the role of team principal,” he said, adding that he had reached the conclusion that he could have done better in certain areas but was learning.
“I believe that my 25 years in Formula One and the knowledge of this company are key elements to doing well in this job,” he added.
Binotto said Monza could be a similar struggle to Spa on the power unit side but better from an aerodynamic perspective, while engine mapping changes could also help.
Ferrari have suffered a notable loss of straight line speed since a confidential engine settlement with the governing FIA before the start of the season.
Binotto said he had confidence in his employees, the same ones who had come closest to challenging Mercedes in the last five seasons.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ian Chadband
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.