Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Ferrari confirm Leclerc is allowed to stay ahead of Vettel

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Ferrari has clarified its stance on team orders, confirming Charles Leclerc is allowed to finish in front of his team mate.

Leclerc was ordered to stay behind Sebastian Vettel when he caught the other Ferrari in the final laps of the Australian Grand Prix. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has previously said Vettel would be favoured in certain scenarios at the start of the season.

However speaking to media yesterday Binotto confirmed this does not necessarily mean Leclerc has to surrender his position to Vettel.

“Charles is allowed to go as fast as he can, he is allowed to try to go for pole, he is allowed to try to stay ahead and we’re not stopping him doing that,” said Binotto.

“But I think it’s important that our two drivers are not fighting and taking any risks and crashing together. No doubt that if the first lap Charles is ahead he will stay, if at the end of the race he is ahead he will stay ahead.”

Asked whether that meant Vettel and Leclerc are not allowed to fight each other under any circumstances, Binotto said: “Let’s wait the next races and let’s see if there is any instances and how we will react.”

Binotto said the decision to tell the drivers to hold position in Australia was a straightforward one under the circumstances.

“I think it was not a hard decision because I think that the way we are managing those situations are clear with the drivers and are clear before the race,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans.

“I think Sebastian was ahead 10 laps to go, we hold the positions, we didn’t take any risk, we think that is the right approach. Both drivers are aware. I think that has been not a hard decision in that respect.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

37 comments on “Ferrari confirm Leclerc is allowed to stay ahead of Vettel”

  1. Unbelievable that this even needs confirming. The Ferrari legacy I guess.

    1. What are the odds that Vettel will nudge/nerf/crash into someone at the first corner, he has lots of form in this situation, 60%, 70% ?

    2. Or may be it’s something to do with the media. Ofc LEC is allowed to win. Why would you think otherwise? Lots of anti-FER and anti-VET sentiments.

      1. +1.
        The anti-VET club is something bizarre.
        The anti-FER club is kinda understandable, yet not really fair.

        1. Yup – always been like that. More so the British media.

  2. Multi 21, Seb

    1. I was thinking the same thing. There is no telling what the drivers will do in the heat of the moment, so rather than having their drivers take each other out, Ferrari are taking the safe route and taking steps to prevent trouble before it starts.

    2. Thats not quite the same is it, in that instance car 2 was told to stay behind car 1, hense the 21 …. Vettel hasn’t been told he can’t beat leclerc, if Leclerc wins it won’t be because Vettel was told to stay behind

      1. huh? .. Multi 21 meant that car 1 (Vettel) was to remain behind car 2 (Webber) .. which Seb didn’t do

        1. Yes your absolutly right, what I meant to say, was absolutly nothing like I typed

          Point I was trying to make , was that Multi 21 was a team order for Seb to stay behind (and like you say he didn’t), if Leclerc beats Seb today, I really want him to beat seb today, not for it to be multi21

          Also, the team didn’t say they can’t race, or that seb can’t win

  3. What a great photo… Vettel literally looking over his shoulder at the talent could dethrone him in the Ferrari empire.

    1. Keep clicking your magic slippers together

      1. Oh dear Sara. As much as I think the reaction to Sebs apparent demise is somewhat premature it’s good to know it’s making you nervous. A small victory to all right minded commenters on this site. Squeaky bum time Sara, squeaky bum time. :-)

        1. “Squeaky bum time” gets my vote for comment of the day lol :-)

        2. Hey Dean, the only thing that makes me nervous is when someone stalks my posts like a creep.

  4. With Binotto at the helm, I’m hopeful… but I’ll wait for Sunday to be sure.

    1. Ferrari have notoriously always focused on the driver’s championship more than the constructors championship. It’s still to early to say for sure, but it seems like they have switched focus to constructor’s and for Binotto it’s about risk management. They were arguably overly cautious in Melbourne, not pitting for tires for fastest lap, but having drivers hold position made a lot of sense. It wasn’t so much about advantaging Seb, but in removing the risk of them taking each other out. Both Seb and Charles are riskier drivers than say Hamilton or Bottas, and making an already bad weekend worse with one or both getting a DNF was an unacceptable risk. Melbourne was about bagging as many points as possible on a bad weekend for the team.

      Will they let them race in the future? If they really have switched focus to constructor’s championship rather than driver’s, my guess is they will advantage the driver who starts in front each weekend, regardless of who it is, until one of them gains enough points advantage over the other to favor them for the driver’s championship. Qualifying will be critical between the two because that will dictate strategy for the race, and sacrificing one driver’s strategy to favor the other will harm their chances for the constructor’s championship too much.

      A lot has changed at Ferrari since last year. About the last decision that can be tied to Marchionne is replacing Kimi with Charles. The team hasn’t won driver or constructor championship for 10 years, and Mercedes have been winning both for the last six by staying focused on constructor’s. If ever Ferrari were going to change their approach and go with what has been working for their rivals, it would be now. The first seven or so races will be telling.

      1. Ferrari has been unable to run two cars as long as I remember. Two decades at least. It’s not about favouring other driver. It’s about ability to actually focus on two cars at the same time. Other teams give priority for another driver. Ferrari’s behavior looks more like they completely forget they have 2nd car in the race. Changing team leader don’t suddenly switch culture.

        1. Maybe so regarding strategy. At times it certainly seems incomprehensible what they are doing with their two cars.

          But with regard to culture, it can change rapidly when conditions are right, and it isn’t just the team boss who has changed. Regardless of whether the culture change works or not, good leaders can instigate culture changes, and Ferrari needed one. Having everyone biting their nails about the wrath of Marchionne wasn’t doing anyone any good. I noticed during qualy that the CEO was out in the pit lane shaking hands with team members, something I never saw Marchionne do.

          Time will tell, of course. Perhaps I’m hoping more than seeing, but I do hope to see more. If for no other reason than to see the teams demonstrating excellence in all respects, fighting out of a sense of esprit de corps and not out of worry and fear.

  5. It’s not that Leclerc must be ‘allowed’ to stay ahead of Seb. It’s simply that Vettel CAN’T get in front of Leclerc.

    Vettel was lucky that Leclerc had a bad quali at Melbourne. In the race it was no contest really, but since Charles was behind Vettel, the team didn’t want to take any risk. Questionable by itself and especially with regards to the extra point for the fastest lap.

    To be risk averse again, and fair to Lecler, Ferrari should order Vettel to not attack Charles tomorrow.

    1. +++ Yes

    2. @jeffreyj

      In Australia, Vettel was comfortably faster than Leclerc in qualifying and in the first stint (when both were on the same tyres). The only time Leclerc looked quicker was when Ferrari put him on a better strategy.

    3. Evidence that watching a certain event, doesn’t equal seeing what’s really happening.

      In the first stint, both on the softs, VET was wayyy faster than LEC. It only turned around after the strategy calls FER made for VET both in terms of when to pit, and what tyres to put him on. He had a gap to LEC of around 11s, established in only 14 laps. Then they had LEC have 14L fresher tyres and different tyres, tyres that suited the FER better than the ones of VET, hard vs medium.

      And in quali, VET got lucky? Well, he simply outerformed LEC.

  6. I hope this season shapes up like 2007, but the relative rookie lifts the trophy!

    1. In 2018 the Ferrari was better than the Merc, but Hamilton made the difference with Vettel and still won. If the car-situation is the same again this year, I’m not sure Lewis is going to be enough to overcome the difference. He’ll probably still beat Vettel but Leclerc might prove to is made from a different cloth than Vettel.

      1. @jeffreyj The difference between the teams is marginal regardless who is ahead. The scenery is the same for both champs: LEC is HAM’s hope whilst BOT is VET’s.

        However I tend to believe HAM has the upper hand on that regard: I don’t think BOT’s form is gonna last long. It seems more realistic to me that VET and LEC will be going back and forth while HAM rack his points up with the help of his wingman.

  7. LeVettel will show LeClerc who LeBoss is.

    1. I spy a LeOptimist!

  8. :D British media is just going crazy over this one.

    Today on Sky Brundle went as far as suggesting Ferrari were sandbagging in Australia, to hide some kind of illegality. Now they are going out of their way to pressure Ferrari about team orders.

    Until Charles is comfortably ahead and they tell him to move aside, there is nothing unreasonable going on.

    1. I distinctly heard Brundle poo-pooing that very idea, as Crofty was chuckling at it being suggested on social media. Perhaps you misheard?

  9. Lie in Australia there would be no fight over Leclerc’s position would pass Vettel on the straight without risk to powerful Ferrari that plays dirty always.

  10. Yes, you misheard @jureo … it was a sarcastic twitter message that Crofty read out and Martin didn’t understand that whoever sent the message was clearly taking the mickey. Martin Brundle in no way suggested that Ferrari were sandbagging.

  11. I have a different take on all of this. The story isn’t about Ferrari, or Vettel or LeClerc. The story is about Lewis Hamilton (isnt’ it always?). In this case, the question is: Where is Lewis Hamilton and why is he getting smoked on the track in every conceivable way so far this season? The headline should read: Hamilton Slow, Not Competitive. In the big picture, all of this is very good for Formula 1. LeClerc and Bottas may be the ones fighting it out fo a championship this year. Hurray!

Comments are closed.