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Ferrari will prioritise Vettel over Leclerc if necessary

  • Published on 15 Feb 2019 18:42
  • comments 11
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says that the team will hand priority to Sebastian Vettel over teammate Charles Leclerc early on in 2019 if needs be.

Ferrari launched its 2019 car on Friday with a revised livery that includes more black and a matte finish. Both drivers attended the launch ahead of a year that Ferrari will be hoping will see it end its drought of championships.

Vettel was favoured over former teammate Kimi Raikkonen throughout their four years as teammates at the Scuderia outfit. Leclerc joins the team having completed his 2018 rookie campaign in impressive style.

Binotto, who was appointed as team principal during the winter break, says that if the situation arises, it will favour Vettel once again as its championship focus is with the German.

"I think it's normal, especially early in the season, that if there are particular situations our priority will be Sebastian," Binotto said. "He is the guide with which we aim for the championship.

"But there's no prejudice - the absolute priority is for Ferrari to win."

Binotto pointed out that Leclerc still has a lot to learn while at the team, but insists that he has the complete backing of the team.

"To have a driver pairing so competitive I think it's not a problem but an opportunity. Sebastian has little to prove, and he remains our guide. Charles still has to learn, as pointed out by himself, but we know how talented he is.

"I hope to have this problem of having two drivers to manage among the top positions."

Replies (11)

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  • JCF1

    Posts: 27

    Why didn't they just keep Kimi? He was already housetrained.

    • + 0
    • Feb 15 2019 - 19:02
    • Seriously. Although Kimi was also both expensive and horribly inconsistent. Leclerc is a bargain by comparison. Albeit a very promising one

      • + 0
      • Feb 15 2019 - 21:33
    • I think, Leclerc is as good if not better than Kimi in Quali, and may learn his way beyond Kimi in race craft. Not to bring up, the peanuts they pay him relative to Kimi's take home.

      • + 0
      • Feb 15 2019 - 23:11
  • But will they do otherwise if that would be necessary, I wonder... I like Vettel, and I don't expect Leclerc to be up to par immediately (it would just not be fair, considering how new he is), but if push comes to shove, Ferrari is too unflexing. And while Mercedes have good strategy, they suffer from the same issue, albeit not as badly as Ferrari. That's why Red Bull always were dangerous, despite being hindered by the slower engines. Nevermind the Newey chassis, having two hungry drivers available, and to be able to switch priority between the two or to have no priority at all, is what made Red Bull dangerous with Ric and Ver.

    • + 1
    • Feb 15 2019 - 19:44
    • Hepp

      Posts: 200

      I usually agree with you, and this time I do too.
      I see this season shaping out as Point and Blocker teammates.
      Valteri, Charles, Pierre are blockers to the "Stars" of the team.
      I really hope this is not the case, but it seams the talk in the "between the lines" interviews will dictate non-disclosed team orders.

      • + 2
      • Feb 15 2019 - 23:49
    • I agree, that's where we are heading, and I think Red Bull will lose out on it too, while Renault probably will benefit from having two strong drivers simultaneously. If Leclerc, against all odds, doesn't get team orders and don't get a 2nd driver status immediately, Ferrari will most likely benefit from it greatly.

      • + 1
      • Feb 16 2019 - 13:07
  • DRS-zone

    Posts: 266

    Not surprising as Leclerc didn't drove any race for Ferrari yet. He will be learning and supporting as the second driver.

    • + 0
    • Feb 15 2019 - 22:56
  • Can't say this is surprising, or even out of line. Who wouldn't give priority to a four time world champion over a freshman to the team? We can only hope Charles surprises everyone and challenges Seb like Danny Ric did.

    • + 0
    • Feb 16 2019 - 04:05
  • xoya

    Posts: 583

    No surprises here. True question is, if Vettel chockes once again and Leclerc proves to be the leader, will Ferrari give support to him.

    • + 0
    • Feb 16 2019 - 10:40
    • Truly hope so - would br crass not to - it was Ferrari's inability to control strategy/keep the whole team focussed on the priority aim, allowing politics to get in the wis of pure decision making that lost them two world titles, three if you include Alonso's debut season. I also don't get Binotto's comments about his drivers - they're clearly not the very best on the grid today....it's laughable.

      • + 0
      • Feb 16 2019 - 13:53
  • It's not really news, I hope the preference piece steps at strategy, or strategy priority and doesn't take us back to the days of Schumacher overtaking Massa/Barrichello on the last lap, etc. I think Leclerc will prove his worth and frankly if he has anything about him will ignore stupid orders which don't make sense, as I do Bottas at Mercedes. ASs a paying viewer I want to see racing, not procession.

    • + 1
    • Feb 16 2019 - 13:50

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