Mattia Binotto spoke to the official F1 podcast, "Beyond the Grid” on Spotify. He focused especially on memories from when he joined Ferrari in 1995 as an engineer for the engine department, the season before Schumacher's arrival at the Scuderia. While working together, the German driver scored five championship wins in a row, from 2000 to 2004.
Wildly different seasons from the one that just ended for Ferrari. The first winless season since 2016, with only three podiums, and the worst season since 1980, ended with a sixth place in the constructor championship, and only eighth place for last season's top driver Charles Leclerc.
Binotto had only kind words for the Monégasque wonder kid: “I think that Charles is one driver that is certainly a talent; he’s fast, he’s capable of overtaking, he’s fantastic in protecting the position. I think he’s got the mentality in which winning is a clear objective for him and I think that what is pushing him in all his actions is that he will always try to win”
He also said that he is very talented, and that he believes he can, in due time, take up to the role of team leader that once was held by Schumacher, while always keeping in mind the differences between the two : Schumacher arrived at Milanello as a two-times world champion and with five seasons of F1 driving experience, whilst Leclerc was at Sauber for only one season before joining the Italian racing team in 2019.
“While Michael was already a leader, Charles is developing as a leader. But he is developing well.”, the Swiss-Italian engineer concluded.
Binotto also compared these years' Scuderia to the team that supported Schumacher, underlining the commitment of the company to try to build a new winning cycle by investing in technology, and, even more important, in people, employing young engineers with a fresh mentality.
Leclerc, who has just recovered from Covid-19, will be testing today the SF71H at Fiorano, while it will be his new teammate Carlos Sainz's turn tomorrow