Christian Horner on his sympathy for Mattia Binotto and the good news for Williams: PlanetF1

Ahead of his 19th launch as team principal at Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner has spoken of his “sympathy” for Mattia Binotto and applauded Williams for signing James Vowles.

Beating Ferrari en route to last year’s championship double, Red Bull has had a nearly flawless season. The same cannot be said of the Scuderia.

The team’s tale of woes was widely commented on, Ferrari paying the price for an unreliable engine that forced them to cut power, and questionable decisions from the pit wall.

Team boss Binotto paid the price, resigning after the season with Ferrari announcing former Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur as his replacement.

Horner says he has feelings for Binotto, especially as Ferrari has won its first races since 2019 under the Italian’s leadership.

“It was interesting to watch the movement,” he told Motor Sport Magazine. “I have sympathy for Mattia, because in the end he did a good job.

“Last year was a big step up from where they had been, so it must be tough for him after his long service at Ferrari.

“Fred, it will be interesting to see if he is still discussing the same points as he was for Sauber in the next meetings! But again, he’s a very capable guy. So yes, it will be very interesting.

“I’m sure they are all very capable people. So we will see what the dynamics are at the next meeting of the Formula 1 Commission”.

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The exit of Binotto and the arrival of Vasseur were just some of the moves in the silly season of team management with Andreas Seidl signed as CEO of the Sauber Group, Andrea Stella taking his place at McLaren, Jost Capito leaving Williams and Vowles named new crew chief.

Speaking of James’ move from Mercedes, Horner said: “I don’t know James particularly well, but he’s obviously a very capable guy.

“Williams will have done his due diligence and research and I think it’s great that they’re giving him a chance to take that step forward. So I think it can only be good news for Williams.

“And is there anything connected to this? Williams would obviously do what’s right for them and right for their business. But only they will know what has been agreed to make that early release happen.

But while half of the grid has been affected by the change, Red Bull’s management will once again remain as it is with Horner gearing up for his 19th season as Red Bull team boss.

He joined the team in 2005, at the time the youngest team boss ever, and under his leadership the team won six Drivers’ Championship titles and five Constructors’ titles.

The most recent double came last season, Max Verstappen retaining the world title while Sergio Perez helped him wrap up the team trophy.

“I think we’ve always valued continuity,” Horner added, “and I think continuity has a huge benefit, because it removes a culture of fear.

“And I think stability is one of our key assets that we’ve enjoyed – I’ve always been a strong believer in that. And you build on that stability and empower people to do their jobs.

“And, of course, we’ve had some success over the past 18 seasons. So my motivation is as high as the first day I joined here, and I’m excited about what lies ahead this year, but also what’s in the pipeline for 2026 and beyond.”

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