Ferrari F1 Boss Mattia Binotto Takes a Veiled Dig at Sebastian Vettel Amid Carlos Sainz Team Order Controversy

Published 05/04/2021, 6:39 AM EDT
NUERBURG, GERMANY – Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto walks in the Paddock before final practice ahead of the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Ferrari started the Portuguese Grand Prix quite strongly with Carlos Sainz passing Sergio Perez for P4 in the opening lap of the race. However, the tire struggles towards the end of the race saw the Spaniard finishing at P11 without a point next to his name.

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Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc managed to score eight very important points for the team by finishing P6. This was because the team swapped the positions when they saw the tire graining impact Sainz’s race. After a team order, the Spaniard allowed Leclerc to overtake him, which, in turn, allowed the latter to deliver some crucial points for the Maranello outfit.

Team order are a touchy topic in F1, and so, Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto, chose this opportunity to take a subtle dig at their former driver, Sebastian Vettel.

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BARCELONA, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 26: Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto and Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari talk in a press conference during Day One of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Talking about the swap, he said, “So it seems it really talks to the way he understands the message. I think when you’ve got drivers that understand what’s the priorities and that support the team, it’s always a pleasure.”

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Ferrari clarify their position on swapping drivers

The decision of swapping positions has always stirred some controversy. Sometimes, the drivers are not happy with such team decisions. In this scenario, Sainz’s speed was impacted severely after the pit stop and the team called for Leclerc to take over because he was faster.

Sainz was respectful of the team’s decision and obliged to the team’s needs. However, Binotto clarified that the team would like to avoid these situations in the future.

He said, “Swapping positions is something that we would like to avoid, things that are normally aren’t great, but sometimes maybe necessary.

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Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 15, 2021. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

“Today, we felt it was because of different pace, and we could see that Carlos was suffering with the graining of the medium. We asked to him, he did it immediately,” he further explained.

Communication is an integral part of the Formula 1 sport. There’s always a chance of some friction between teams and individuals looking to maximize their priorities.

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Thus, it is important for Ferrari to create an environment where everyone feels like a part of the team. This was quite an issue for them in the last few years, and hopefully, doing so successfully this year might help them get back in the top-three on the championship table.

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Ayush Manjunath

586 articles

Ayush Manjunath is a Formula 1 author for EssentiallySports with more than 500 articles to his name. A Law graduate and a current Sports Management student, Ayush also has a certificate from UCLA on Sports, Media and Entertainment Management. He has an undying love for motorsports and lives to see Max Verstappen, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris battle for the championship one day!

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