‘Only Ferrari Counts’ – Binotto Warns Drivers Against Repeating Vettel/Leclerc Hostility

Published 02/27/2021, 2:45 AM EST
MONZA, ITALY: Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto talks in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza in Monza, Italy. (Photo by XPB/Pool via Getty Images)


As Scuderia Ferrari aim to rebuild their team in order to achieve the kind of success they have often been associated with in the past, their new driver pairing of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will be tasked with leading the Prancing Horse from the front. But team principal Mattia Binotto made it very clear to both his drivers that the team will take precedence over any internal rivalry.

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In the past couple of years, Ferrari have had a headache when managing their two drivers. The emergence and rapid development of Leclerc meant that there was no clear driver hierarchy within the team anymore.

This lead to some intriguing swap calls being made through the course of the last two seasons. Leclerc’s teammate Sebastian Vettel felt the brunt of it, and both drivers were often involved in heated on-track clashes.

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SPA, BELGIUM – Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari, Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto and Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari stand for a minutes silence in tribute to the late Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert on the Formula 3 grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Most notably, the 2019 Brazilian GP springs to mind; both drivers crashed into each other, squandering teams’ points and souring their relations. This time around, Binotto makes it crystal clear that he doesn’t want more of the same.

He said, (translated via Google) “Only when we fight for the victory will our drivers be internal rivals. At the moment only Ferrari counts. The hope is to do better, we want to fight for the podium even if it won’t be easy.”

Binotto optimistic over Ferrari F1’s 2021 car, the SF21

The team boss of the Maranello-based outfit is confident that they have ironed out the flaws plaguing the SF1000. But although the team has addressed a major weak spot, he expects the performance gap between Mercedes and his team to still be vast.

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RED BULL RING, SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA: Charles Leclerc of Scuderia Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Austria. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

He said, “2021 will be a difficult year. It is difficult to recover gap on Mercedes in just one year and with regulatory limitations. We tried to do our best in all areas and correct the speed and engine defects. We worked a lot on these fronts, we want to do better, we have to do better.”

The Bahrain tests that begin on March 12 will give fans an indication of the Scuderia’s progress. Only time will tell if the Italian team can get back to fighting at the front of the grid.

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Also Read: ‘Learnt a Lot’ – Charles Leclerc Reveals His Key Lesson From 2020 F1 Campaign With Ferrari

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Ronan Carvalho

983 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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