During the 2019 season, one story that was coming to the forefront was the rise of Charles Leclerc in the Scuderia Ferrari team. Of course, his surge in form meant that Sebastian Vettel was feeling threatened. Thus, the rivalry between the current star and the future star began, and it nearly toppled the Italian marquee.
Ahead of the 2020 Formula One season, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto spoke about the team’s ability to cope with the budding rivalry. When the 2019 season began, it was largely a given that Sebastian Vettel was the top dog and given priority.
However, that did not last, as Charles Leclerc became more and more defiant and refused to play second fiddle on a few occasions.
Speaking to the media about the Vettel-Leclerc situation, Binotto confessed,”Believe me, at the beginning of the year we had some meetings that were difficult to manage. But towards the end of the season, I found myself more and more comfortable, which meant we were getting used to it as a team.”
“It was certainly not an easy exercise and everyone can do better. But I believe that this is the way to optimise the results.”
During his maiden season with Scuderia Ferrari, Leclerc bagged seven pole positions before ending the team’s win drought. The Monegasque driver took two wins, to Vettel’s solitary win at the Singapore Grand Prix.
How Far is Too Far for Ferrari?
Of course, the rivalry went too far and came to a head at the Brazilian Grand Prix, when the two collided. At that time, Vettel attempted to re-overtake Leclerc and it all went horribly wrong.
Surprisingly, Mattia Binotto felt that the crash came at the right time, and reasoned that it gives them enough time to resolve the matter before the new season.
The Italian was of the opinion that the accident was part of the learning process of having two competitive drivers within the team.