Ferrari are set to replace Formula One team boss Maurizio Arrivabene with technical head Mattia Binotto after failing to win any titles previous year, Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Monday. Arrivabene has allegedly been accused of cultivating a toxic work environment by blaming the team's technical wing for the Scuderia's failure to secure championship wins in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, despite Binotto-led vehicle development resulting in the two most competitive Ferraris of the last decade. A year ago in particular, despite having the quicker auto for considerable periods, a series of driver errors by Sebastian Vettel were compounded by team mistakes that saw their challenge falter and Lewis Hamilton take the title with two races remaining.
While much was made of Sebastian Vettel's errors past year, Arrivabene was also culpable for Ferrari's failure to win either title after a series of operational mistakes from the pit-wall which he ultimately oversaw as team boss.
"The decision was taken together with the company's top management after lengthy discussions related to Maurizio's long-term personal interests as well as those of the team itself".
Sebastian Vettel will be looking for his fifth world title in 2019.
Arrivabene had been in charge since the 2015 season, having previously worked for Philip Morris, a key Ferrari sponsor.
Binotto, who had been working as Ferrari's chief technical officer, has been with the team for almost 25 years.
The death in July past year of chairman Sergio Marchionne triggered a change at the top, with Louis Camilleri taking over as chief executive and John Elkann, a scion of Italy's Agnelli family, as chairman. There has been talk of his exit for more than a year. All technical areas will continue to report directly to Mattia'. He was even linked with a move to Italian football club Juventus. It is uncertain who will replace him as head of the technical division.
Vettel was responsible for some of their failings in 2018 but the team let him down operationally, failing to institute clear orders on occasion and making the wrong tyre choice in qualifying in Japan, an error for which Arrivabene turned on his team.
A change of leadership at this stage is far from ideal, with only a few weeks to go until testing starts. It remains unclear who will fill the void left by Binotto's promotion from technical director.
Many believe Binotto has played a crucial role in the team's resurgence of the recent past.