Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s team principal, admits that they miss Michael Schumacher’s golden era.
Ferrari has won 16 Constructors’ Championships in Formula One, the most recent of which was in 2008.
Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver on the team. He began working for the team in 1996 and left in 2006. For the team, he won five consecutive driver’s championships and 72 Grands Prix. His titles were won in a row from 2000 to 2004, and the team won a row of constructors’ titles from 1999 to 2004; this was the team’s most successful period.
With Charles Leclerc winning two of the first three races of the season and finishing a close second in the third, that hope has faded as Ferrari has been plagued by a series of errors and reliability issues.
Although Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are among the top F1 drivers today, they have a long way to go before they can be mentioned in the same breath as seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher.
When asked what is missing in the race to the top, team principal Binotto told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com: “That winning mentality that was there in the Schumacher era and which pushed you to do better after every victory.”
After completing his studies, Binotto joined Ferrari in the engine department just before Schumacher had moved from Benetton, with whom he had won back-to-back Drivers’ championships.
The 52-year-old remembers the maiden victory for both he and Schumacher at Ferrari, in the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix.
“It was also my first win, and when I heard the anthem I realised what it meant to be Ferrari, but then we started winning championships in 1999 and 2000,” said Binotto.
Mattia Binotto, the Ferrari team principal who has been with the company for 27 years, has seen both good and bad times and hopes to complete the journey back to the top of F1 after the devastation of 2020.
“It is no longer enough to do your homework well – to win, you have to keep progressing and improving, and to do that we have to give 120% if not 130%,” said Binotto.
“We come from very difficult seasons, from sixth place in the 2020 Constructors’ championship. These were years that marked us because we suffered pressure and criticism, and in a way they shaped us.
“We promised we would be competitive again and we have kept that promise, but what I want to say is that between having a performing car and drivers and the ability to consolidate the ability to materialise every situation, there is still a step to go.”