Mattia Binotto's F1 return 'not out of the question' as Martin Brundle lets slip

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Mattia Binotto is between jobs after leaving Ferrari at the end of last year (Image: Getty Images)
Mattia Binotto is between jobs after leaving Ferrari at the end of last year (Image: Getty Images)

Alpine could turn to Mattia Binotto as their next team principal, according to Martin Brundle.

The Enstone squad is in need of a new leader after axing Otmar Szafnauer. The Belgian Grand Prix was his last race in charge, and engine chief Bruno Famin will take the job on an interim basis until a permanent hire is made.

As a high-profile team boss also out of work, Binotto has naturally been linked with the vacancy. The Italian has been on gardening leave since resigning as Ferrari chief at the end of last season.

Sky Sports pundit Brundle said he has "heard the same rumour" when discussing Alpine's next steps in its coverage of the Belgian GP. "This is a funny old place as you know, you can start a rumour just for fun and see how quickly it comes back to you as fact," he said.

"But it's not out of the question. Binotto has got a lot of experience, obviously in the Ferrari system, and knows about running a Formula 1 team. Obviously, it didn't work out for him at Ferrari otherwise he'd still be there. But I wouldn't be surprised if that was announced, no."

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There is some uncertainty over the length of the period of gardening leave Binotto must observe. Initially believed to be six months, there were some claims that Ferrari paid extra for the Italian to agree to spend 12 months on the sidelines.

Binotto has still been around in F1, though, most recently spotted in the British Grand Prix paddock. And his good friend Guenther Steiner recently told Mirror Sport that he expects to see him back working in the sport at some point.

"He's doing good, he's fine. I think he's in a good place," said the Haas chief. "He worked at Ferrari for a long time, I think 28 years. It was his first job there and he was never anywhere else, so obviously when you get hit with this, it's difficult.

"But I think he's moved on from it and is looking forward to his future. I don't know what he's working on but, for sure, there will be opportunities for him. If you ask me, yes. Don't ask me where, when and why! But I think yes."

Famin, however, says Alpine are "not at the stage" of deciding Szafnauer's successor. He said: "I think I'm going to, with all my direct reports, assess what is the situation, think about what are the priorities in Enstone, to consolidate the things and we will define if we need a new structure or not and when that will be done, we will see."

Daniel Moxon

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