Mattia Binotto embarks on marathon sprint to get Ferrari back on track | Richard Williams

Swiss has a complex task as team principal – ending the Mercedes stranglehold while F1 faces environmental concerns

With his shock of dark hair and his round black-framed spectacles, Mattia Binotto looks as though he might have taken his masters degree at the University of Modena in the theories of the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci rather than motor vehicle technology. But it is the 49-year-old engineer whose success or failure in a new role is likely to define Formula One’s short-term bid to preserve its credibility as it begins its 70th season in Melbourne on Sunday.

In a world increasingly aware of climate change, the sport is engaged in a bout of existential introspection. Does an intrinsically frivolous exercise that so flagrantly depends on the products of non‑renewable fossil fuel have the right to a continued existence? Or is the effect of the sporting use of the internal combustion engine so minuscule compared with the damage caused by its other manifestations that to remove a source of pleasure for many people represents a example of pointless gesture politics?

Related: F1 2019: who and what to look out for in the new season

The three engineers appointed before Binotto as Ferrari team principal were all removed within a year

Related: Robert Kubica: ‘You gain nothing from giving up. You have to adapt’

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Source: Formula 1

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