Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has said Sebastian Vettel had no say whatsoever in the Scuderia’s driver plans for the 2019 season.
Vettel stated repeatedly on record that he would have liked Kimi Raikkonen to remain as his team-mate at Ferrari next season and said he is “sad” to see him leave upon confirmation of the Finn’s exit.
Arrivabene was asked in Singapore whether Vettel was able to have any influence as to whether Raikkonen or Charles Leclerc would be his team-mate, but that is something the Scuderia boss categorically denied.
“No, not at all,” Arrivabene told Sky Sports. “Sebastian is our driver, and not a team principal.
“My job is to look at the overall situation and to discuss with my bosses and work towards a long-term plan.
“When we are talking about a long-term plan the decision is with the management and not with the driver.”
Arrivabene confirmed in Friday’s FIA press conference that the long-term plan included having Leclerc on a lengthy contract which currently runs to the end of the 2022 season.
He added: “Time is changing [in Formula 1] but the most important thing for us is that we keep our DNA.
“Gasly is now with Red Bull, McLaren have taken a rookie, people are looking toward the future now.”
For now, the Scuderia Ferrari team is focused on the Singapore GP this weekend. Both Red Bull and Ferrari are fairly strong here but Mercedes are not far behind. Daniel Ricciardo topped Practice 1 while Kimi Raikkonen led Practice 2.
As of now, FP3 is on and the battle will be on for pole position. Who will rule the roost, come qualifying and race day? Will it be Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull. However, practice is one thing, qualifying and the race are two different stories altogether.