Arrivabene leaves after four years, with technical boss Binotto taking overall charge of Italian team; Fourth Ferrari boss in five years
Binotto has served as Ferrari’s technical director since 2016 but rumours of tension between himself and Arrivabene were rife last year as the team’s title challenge faded for the second consecutive season.
But while Arrivabene’s future had been at the centre of on-off speculation for several years, the exact timing of his eventual departure comes as a surprise with Sky Sports in Italy reporting that a contract renewal had appeared a ‘formality’ before the Christmas break.
“Between the panettone and the lentils something has happened, or definitely broken, and the renewal has not been made,” said Carlo Vanzini, Sky in Italy’s F1 commentator.
Arrivabene had served as team boss for four seasons and overseen a revival in the team’s fortunes since a dismal and turbulent 2014 campaign when Stefano Domenicali and Marco Mattiacci each had spells in charge.
Binotto was considered a close associate of late Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, who died suddenly in July, and three years ago was promoted to the role of chief technical officer after the departure of James Allison.
Rival teams had been linked with approaches for the 49-year-old in recent months.
Binotto is a stalwart of Maranello and his promotion to the head of the F1 team completes his progression through the ranks over the past two-and-a-half decades.
The Swiss-born engineer, 49, joined the team from university in 1995 and was originally an engine engineer during the Schumacher glory era, before becoming chief engineer in 2007.
After a spell focusing on KERS, he became a deputy director of engine and electronics in 2013 before taking on ultimate responsibility for the power unit division where he was credited with improving their turbo engine.
His promotion to the head of the team’s technical programme in July 2016 was still considered a surprise at the time, although Ferrari’s on-track fortunes have improved in the last two seasons with runner-up positions to Mercedes.
Binotto’s challenge now is to take Ferrari to the next level and become the first team principal since Jean Todt in 2007 to bring the drivers’ world championship back to Maranello.