Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko has predicted a weaker Ferrari team in 2023 after their decision to part ways with team principal Mattia Binotto. The German even feels Mercedes will be ahead of the Italian team owing to the stability within the Silver Arrows.

Ferrari started the 2022 Formula 1 season as the early title favourites after winning two of the first three races. Red Bull were their closest challengers, with Max Verstappen winning the second race of the campaign in Saudi Arabia.

As the season progressed, Red Bull grew from strength to strength, but Ferrari were unable to sustain their flying start to the season. A combination of strategy mishaps, reliability woes and driver errors saw the Italian team's title challenge fizzle out by the time the second-half of the season got underway.

Ferrari's underwhelming finish to what started out as a potential title challenging season saw the team's upper management opt for a change. Binotto resigned after getting wind of the team looking for a replacement, with Alfa Romeo chief Fred Vasseur being appointed as his successor.

Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna unveils the company's new long term strategy, in Maranello
Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna unveils the company's new long term strategy, in Maranello Reuters

Marko feels it was not the right call by the Maranello team to axe their team principal. Binotto has been in charge since 2019, and was at the helm during their catastrophic 2020 season when Ferrari finished sixth in the Constructors' championship.

Binotto was a key figure in helping Ferrari turn their fortunes around, as they finished third in 2021 and got back to winning ways in 2022. However, his inability to iron out minor flaws within the team, which saw their title hopes falter, has seen them bringing in a new team leader.

"In the case of Ferrari, I don't quite understand the change. I consider Binotto to be an excellent technician and politician," Marko said, as quoted on Give Me Sport.

"He was simply overwhelmed by the task. But it would have been enough to put a sporting director at his side to support him at the track and with the strategy. With the new man, who has many other jobs, I see a weakening for Ferrari."

While Red Bull and Ferrari set the benchmark in 2022, eight-time Constructors' champions Mercedes missed the mark. The Silver Arrows team, who were expected to be favourites, were fighting in midfield during the first few races before making progress.

By the end of the campaign, Mercedes had made strong strides forward, and were challenging Ferrari for second place in the Constructors' championship. Marko feels the Brackley-based team will be ahead of the Italians in 2023 owing to the stability within the team and the presence of Lewis Hamilton.

"[Mercedes] are the more stable team and they have [Lewis] Hamilton – he's a very special driver," Marko said. "In between, he's shown time and again with his lap times that he's a top man. It's simply a much stronger package than Ferrari."

Lewis Hamilton
British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was named as an investor in the new ownership group of the NFL's Denver Broncos AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON