Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says new driver Charles Leclerc will not be required to play a support role to his team mate from the beginning of the championships.Sebastian Vettel from the start of the season.
However speaking to media at the Circuit de Catalunya today Binotto said it would be “good for Ferrari” to ensure its position was clear from the start.
“When you’ve got your intentions clear from the start, at least you do not make mistakes when you have an ambiguous situation,” he said.
“I think that obviously the two will be free to fight. We will not ask Charles to go slow or Sebastian to be faster. We need both of them to do the maximum and try to do their best.”
However Binotto indicated there could be some situations where Vettel would be their preferred driver.
“Certainly if there is any ambiguous situation at the start of the season, Sebastian is the one who has got more experience, he has been with us many years, he has already won championships, so he is our champion.”
Binotto said Leclerc’s performance in testing demonstrated the second-year driver was ready to join Ferrari.
“Charles is a good driver, certainly a very fast driver. I think that we saw this here in Barcelona he focused himself on understanding the car, working with the new team and engineers.
Vettel’s quickest lap time in testing was just one hundredth of a second faster than Leclerc’s.
“They’ve done very similar lap times,” said Binotto, “I think that’s demonstrating Charles is a good and fast driver.
“[But] I think we knew it since the past. It’s many years [he’s been] at Ferrari. We’ve seen that in the Alfa-Sauber last year.
“I don’t think Charles is a surprise in that respect. It’s not the testing at Barcelona that is telling us that was the right choice. It was certainly the right choice but the season will tell us more.”
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