After weeks of speculation, and a strong denial from Ferrari, the team eventually confirmed the impending departure of team principal Mattia Binotto. The Italian, who has been at the helm since 2019, tendered his resignation amid talks that he was facing the sack after a disappointing 2022 campaign.

In the immediate aftermath of the announcement, attention turned towards the possible reason for his sudden departure. Among the many reported reasons, it was suggested that driver Charles Leclerc was involved in Binotto's departure, with the Monegasque driver said to have been unhappy with how the team was run.

Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen has dismissed the notion, stating that it is unlikely the drivers had any involvement in Binotto's decision to part ways with Ferrari. The Finnish racer feels Leclerc would not have allowed his personal feelings to compromise the team's camaraderie.

"I don't know about that. I always thought when I was racing, it's not a question about whether you like somebody, it's a question of how good they are, how committed they are, how intelligent, how clever they are - that's what matters," Hakkinen told Sky Sports.

"You have to work in a team, you have to respect the people's talent, knowledge, their commitment to the sport, so I doubt it's a true story," he added.

It was after the British Grand Prix, that talks of a potential rift between the team's star driver and Binotto emerged. A poor strategy call by Ferrari robbed the Monaco-born driver of a potential race win and he made his feelings clear on the team radio after the race.

Binotto was seen giving his driver a dressing down after the race, and it is believed that was when cracks started to appear in their relationship. Ferrari's poor strategy also cost Leclerc podium finishes on more than one occasion including a potential win at his home grand prix.

However, Leclerc always maintained that he shared a strong relationship with Binotto, and even claimed that stability within Ferrari will be key to getting back to title contention in 2023. The 25-year-old also paid tribute to his soon-to-be former boss after news of his departure was confirmed.

Charles Leclerc
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc POOL via AFP / Giuseppe CACACE