‘F1 deserves better’ Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto blasts FIA as Leclerc left frustrated

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MATTIA BINOTTO vented his frustration after a bittersweet Italian Grand Prix for Ferrari.

F1: Leclerc says Ferrari career has 'exceeded expectations'

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has torn into the FIA for allowing the Italian Grand Prix to finish under safety car conditions. Charles Leclerc was denied the opportunity to fight for victory at Monza with the home crowd unleashing a chorus of boos as Max Verstappen approached the finish line to claim yet another win. 

Leclerc carried the hopes of a rowdy Ferrari-mad crowd on Sunday after qualifying on pole position for the Grand Prix. He held off an early challenge from George Russell but Verstappen, who started seventh after accepting a grid penalty, wasted no time in weaving through the pack. 

Ferrari simply couldn’t live with Red Bull’s pace at Monza and Leclerc was dealt another dose of bad luck when he dove in for an early pit stop behind a virtual safety car, only for it to end before he had re-emerged on track. 

Leclerc looked to have been thrown a late lifeline when Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren malfunction brought out a full safety car, but officials were unable to clear the track sufficiently and the FIA made the unpopular decision to finish the Grand Prix under safety car conditions. 

'F1 deserves better' Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto blasts FIA as Leclerc left frustrated

Mattia Binotto didn’t hold back when discussing the FIA at Monza (Image: GETTY)

“We tried to do what we could,” Binotto told Sky Sports. “Max [Verstappen] had a fantastic race, he was fantastic today again. I was a bit disappointed for the ending. Finishing behind a safety car is never great for F1, the show.

“There was plenty of time for the FIA to act differently today. It was fully safe to run on the track towards the end. To wait so much is simply wrong. We need to have discussions on how to improve because the aim should be to restart the race as soon as possible. The FIA need more experience but they need to do a better job because F1 deserves it.”

The FIA underwent a major change at the end of last season with race director Michael Masi axed for his role in the controversial 2021 season finale that saw Verstappen pip Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi. Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas have taken the post on an alternating basis, while Binotto clearly feels as though they are yet to get fully up to speed. 

The Ferrari boss has had to face tough questions in recent weeks with a number of strategic mishaps helping Red Bull in their one-sided race for the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. Prancing Horse President John Elkann recently threw his backing behind Binotto but acknowledged that ‘too many mistakes’ were being made. 

'F1 deserves better' Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto blasts FIA as Leclerc left frustrated

Charles Leclerc was left gutted after missing out on victory at Monza (Image: GETTY)

“Overall the pace wasn’t bad today,” said Leclerc after sewing up second place at Monza. “We’ve been unlucky with the virtual safety car ending in the middle of the pit lane. We didn’t get the full benefit of stopping under the virtual safety car and we had to make the medium tyres last as long as possible.

“For the last laps it felt like the track was clear but maybe there were things in the background that I don’t know. Red Bull are really good, especially in the race. On that, they seem to have the upper hand. We can win a race before the end of the season. We have shown good pace so I’m sure we can win some other races.”

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