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Binotto has backing of Ferrari chiefs despite off-colour displays



Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto surveys the scene at Monza

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto surveys the scene at Monza

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto surveys the scene at Monza

Mattia Binotto has admitted he considered resigning as Ferrari team principal.

Ferrari head into tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix in the midst of their worst crisis in a generation. They are fifth in the constructors' championship, an eye-watering 203 points behind Lewis Hamilton's all-conquering Mercedes.

The Scuderia are Formula One's most decorated team, winning 16 constructors' titles and producing champions in the form of the likes of Alberto Ascari, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari have won the drivers' title on 15 occasions, but it is now 13 years since they produced their last champion, Kimi Raikkonen, and a dozen since their last constructors' honours.

Both Charles Leclerc and the soon-to-be-departing Sebastian Vettel failed to finish in the points in Belgium a week ago - the team's worst single-race performance since 2009 - and they were off the pace in Friday's practice at Monza's Temple of Speed.

Leclerc finished ninth, with Vettel further back in 12th. Both had trips off the track with Leclerc reporting over the radio: "This car is so hard to drive."

Binotto revealed that Ferrari president John Elkann phoned him for an explanation of the team's woeful performance at Spa-Francorchamps, but speaking on the eve of Ferrari's home race, the team principal believes he has the backing of Maranello's volatile hierarchy.

"I know I have the support of my managers," said Binotto. "But I questioned myself. I reflected on whether I can be suitable for the role of team principal.

"I could have done better in some areas, but I believe that my 25 years in F1 and the knowledge of this company are key elements to do well in this profession.

"I'm not alone, I can assure you. With (Ferrari CEO) Louis Camilleri I speak several times a day and with John Elkann regularly. I get their advice."

Hamilton, predictably fastest in practice beating team-mate Valtteri Bottas to top spot by 0.262 seconds, has won five of the seven rounds to establish a commanding 47-point championship lead. He is dominating the sport just as Schumacher did with Ferrari at the turn of the century.

Vettel was hired as the man to emulate his compatriot, but the German will be off in less than five months - deemed surplus to requirements by a fed-up Ferrari board.

Hamilton will move to within just one of Schumacher's win record if he triumphs for a 90th career time.

Belfast Telegraph