Binotto will leave his position as Ferrari team principal at the end of the year after four seasons at the helm following the Italian outfit’s failed title bid in 2022.
Despite enjoying his best season as Ferrari team boss, a catalogue of operational and strategic errors, reliability failures and driver mistakes allowed Red Bull and Max Verstappen to run away with both world championships, prolonging the Scuderia’s long wait for F1 silverware.
Speaking on the Beyond the Grid podcast, Wolff admitted he was surprised by how long Binotto held onto the position before “the unavoidable happened”.
“It was always clear that he was under tremendous pressure,” Wolff said.
“Being team principal at Ferrari, you better have a good contract for your exit. Now probably the unavoidable happened, but he held onto it longer than I thought.”
Wolff acknowledged there is “absolutely” more pressure that comes with being in charge of F1’s most famous team.
“In representing Ferrari you are representing the whole country,” Wolff said. “They write you up and they write you down, but with brutality.
“Certainly team principal of Ferrari, as an Italian probably even more. Because as a foreigner you don’t read the news.
“But as an Italian, you are in the firing line.”
Asked if there is a chance that Binotto could find himself landing a role at Mercedes or their High Performance Powertrains division, Wolff replied: “No. I think there was too much porcelain broken between us over the last few years, that this would be possible.”
On their strained relationship, Wolff added: “I think that Mattia and I had our moments, it’s no secret over these many years. But in a way we consolidated that in 2022. We were in a much, much better place.”
Could Wolff have ended up at Ferrari?
Wolff was also asked if he would have entertained an offer from Ferrari prior to joining forces with Mercedes in early 2013.
The Austrian, who now owns a third of Mercedes’ F1 team, admitted he would have previously been interested in a move to Maranello had Ferrari made him a offer.
“Well everybody who says he isn’t interested in being team principal at Ferrari just simply doesn’t tell the truth,” Wolff said.
“I had to pinch myself until today that Daimler gave me the opportunity to become managing partner and co-holder, it’s something that I feel tremendously proud of.
“But equally, if Ferrari had come around the corner and miraculously offered me such a position, it would have been the same.”