“There is nothing written in the contract of Charles being the leader” – Mattia Binotto confirms Ferrari teammates Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc will have equal opportunities to excel next F1 season.
Charles Leclerc has a new partner at Ferrari, with Carlos Sainz replacing Sebastian Vettel. The Italian team had a poor 2020 season, finishing a lowly sixth. Sainz, formerly of Toto Rosso, Renault, and now McLaren, finished at the same position in the Drivers Standings.
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) December 13, 2020
Leclerc had a decent season though, especially compared to his decorated teammate Vettel. The gap was significant, and when asked if the same should be expected in 2021, team principal Mattia Binotto disagreed, stressing both drivers will be given equal opportunities to start with.
“There is nothing written in the contract of Charles being the leader. I think that the two will be free to fight on track.”
“I think it’s important that they are not damaging themselves, that is clear, but I think that they will have equal opportunity, certainly at the start of the season.”
Binotto on giving team orders to Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc
Ferrari had a disastrous last decade, witnessing Red Bull and Mercedes dominate proceedings. And with a turnaround as the focus, Binotto wants Leclerc and Sainz to help out each other. As for team orders, it will only happen if one driver has a significant advantage over the other.
“Our top priority, as I said in the past and will remain, is to optimize the team’s points. So it may be that in some races, it will be important that the two are somehow helping team decisions or accepting team decisions in order to optimize what is the team’s interest. And by doing the team interest I think we are prevailing and we are helping the drivers’ interest as well.”
“Later in the season, if there will be a clear advantage of one driver to the other and that one of the two drivers may achieve an objective which is not possible for the other, I think it will be an open discussion between the two.”