F1 – Ferrari vs Mercedes: a new duel that feeds the culture of suspicion

That Azerbaijan F1 GPfor Ferrari, it was a disaster across the board. A double technical withdrawal had not taken place in a decade. The situation was exacerbated by violation some others driven by Maranello. Evidence that indicates with extreme clarity that having put pressure on performance to quickly fill the gap with the summit generates related issues that will be examined in the relevant places in a necessary way that is likely to lead to a technical review of the parts that show such fragility to compromise a car’s performance so quickly that it fails to convert performance into points.

From Baku not only technical issues arise, there is another aspect that takes shape and affects the political sphere motorsport. At the heart of the debate, once again, Ferrari, which indirectly opposes Mercedes in a kind of legacy from a technical-sporting challenge that currently sees Brackley totally unsuccessful.

The occasion for yet another internal controversy has come for the appointment of Shaila-Ann Rao as Secretary General of Sports and CEO of F1. Office which the lawyer will cover temporarily to replace Peter Bayer who occupied both positions. The leader has closed the relationship to FIA quite abruptly and without an exhaustive explanation that the decision has come. Some argue that the interruption of the professional relationship depended on the problems that arose at Monkbut there are no confirmations in this regard.

Shaila-Ann Rao

F1. Shaila-Ann Rao and the past that “worries” Ferrari

The fact is that FIA had to move quickly to fill two very large gaps in the Parisian institution and therefore the choice to focus on Rao who had previous experience a Place de la Concorde. But it is not the phase of his career that made the antennas rise Mattia Binotto. The professional, after working as legal director from 2016 to 2018 employed in Jean Todtentered Mercedes which covers the role of councilor and then as special tea consultantis the principal Toto Wolff.

Precisely this last accusation has raised doubts among the opposing teams with Ferrari which broke the delay and took the issue frontally. “Yes, that is certainly cause for concern – he started Binotto speaks to the media about the recent appointment – although I think he is still a great person who has a lot of experience and will definitely be able to do this job. However, it remains a concern. I think it’s up to the FIA ​​to make sure there are no conflicts of interest, that they behave fairly, and that it’s up to the president to make sure.. I trust they will, but like Ferrari we are worried. I’m pretty sure they will prove through behavior and decisions that this is a wrong impression“.

Pretty heavy words those uttered by the leader of Swiss origin. Without going around too much, the concepts that Binotto expresses nurture a culture of suspicion that is unfortunately typical of Formula 1. The Crusade off Ferrari it tastes of political war. A dynamic as old as the world, where each actor tries to enforce his own vision.

Mattia Binotto, the worried look of the Scuderia Ferrari team leader

F1. Toto Wolff takes the side in favor of Rao

So much so that Toto Wolffquestioned without being named directly, he tried to throw water on the fire: “Shaila-Ann was at the FIA ​​before she joined us (what happened in Ferrari with Mekies, nda). The advantage of having her in this position is that she is concerned with governance and transparency. He is a lawyer, in the past we have always criticized that in F1 there were not always such transparent and clear aspects for the teams. I think that is one of the key questions that he will try to implement: it is good news for all the teams“.

IN Ferrariapparently they see anything but transparency. The bond between the professional and the Mercedes agitates the management of Maranello which is not new to oppositions against Brackely. In fact, just remember that Binotto got in the way when the candidacy of Toto Wolff at the seat of the power of Liberty Media was about to take into account. The Ferrari manager’s work was fundamental to making this hypothesis die in the bud.

The complaints of the Ferrari world are legitimate because transparency is a supreme value that should be protected everywhere.. But there will also be a need for a minimum of trust in the institutions, which will help create a more relaxed climate. Also because every team that wants to see things from a different perspective has a story that consists of small big opposites. Sometimes necessary inconsistencies due to scenarios that change quite suddenly.

the shining Austrian team manager Toto Wolff (Mercedes AMG F1 Team) strolls in the fold during the Italian Grand Prix weekend in 2021

F1. Ferrari: an inconsistent crusade

Eight years of almost total dominance has conditioned the judgment of many protagonists. We reached the Mercedes monopoly after this, with the participation of short-sighted teams including Ferrari itself, and had seen its long-term strategic vision rewarded. Political triumphs that have turned into technical triumphs, which then turned into unprecedented sporting successes. Ferrari perhaps he fears that someone who has been close Wolff may in the long run play a role in defining future assets in a sport in constant development.

Clearly, the red claims collide with some evidence that history gives us back. The Sports Director for Red is Laurent Mekies. The French engineer held delicate positions in Federation. Appointed as Security Director in 2017 he was appointed deputy director of the competition Formula 1. Sensitive roles with relatively acquired skills and well-established political ties that could have put competitors on alert.

The current sporting director worked in one FIA Directed by Jean Todta man with a very important background in Ferrari since he was one of the architects behind the glorious splendor, as one Maranello they are trying hard to propose again after difficult years. Todd’s presence in the FIA ​​in the era in which Mercedes has swept through it is the demonstration that the hunt for certain demons is a distracting operation.. There are so many regulatory counterweights that it is impossible for a single man to be an arbitrator and execute the will of a third party.

The golden pair of Ferrari: Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher

Someone might have questioned the appropriateness of whether the number one in the world of motorsport had a coward who administers the sports power of attorney to Charles Leclerc. Let us go back to the story that said that nothing scandalous happened in the years when the alleged conflict of interest arose. Does the presence of a lawyer specializing in regulatory matters based on Mercedes’ “concern” about a conflict of interest bother you? Well, we want to understand in what forms this can manifest itself.

The maneuver of Binotto probably has the only function to put pressure on Ben Sulayem so we can avoid unpleasant interference that would give rise to conspiracy that we do not need. Clearly, public disclosure of malaise does not reassure the spirit of a sport that has all too often been based on useless suspicion.

In the recent renewal of Concord pact a rather unique right reserved Ferrari: being able to veto technical problems. An institution virtually never used, but which can act as a preventive deterrent for decision makers. An anomaly born of a now obsolete “geopolitical” context that is repeated more by tradition than by necessity. Putting ourselves in the place of competitors can cause obvious stomach pains. Yet everything flows calmly enough because history, again her, has shown that the benefit has not changed the course of events.

Each professional figure has a background, has a curriculum where different experiences exist side by side. This is the only way to accumulate the cognitive and managerial skills needed to achieve leadership roles. Shaila-Ann Rao has the competencies and professional history to be able to fill the role that has been assigned to her. As well as Ross Brawn rather than Stefano Domenicaliformerly prominent of Maranellowho for many years has acquired one know how thanks to the fact that they can now hold important offices that require political balance. There control of motorsportin the end, it can not be blocked by cross-vetoes that are not based on valid arguments.

F1 – Author: Diego Catalano – @ diegocat1977

Photo: F1, Scuderia Ferrari F1, Mercedes AMG F1 Team

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