Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Ferrari could switch championship priority from Vettel to Leclerc

2019 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the team could give Charles Leclerc priority in its championship efforts within a few races if the initiative continues to swing in his favour.

However Binotto still believes Sebastian Vettel has “the most probability” to be the team’s title contender this year.

Before the season began Binotto said the team would favour Vettel in “50-50 situations” as he is the more experienced driver. However after the first two races Leclerc has 26 points to Vettel’s 22.

Asked whether the team could revise its policy in the drivers’ championship, Binotto said: “Certainly as a team we need to give priority to the team and try to maximise the team’s points at the end of the race.

“As I said at the start of the season if there is any 50-50 situation where we need to take a decision that advantage will be given to Sebastian simply because Sebastian has got the most experience in the team, in F1. He won four championships and certainly for us he is the driver who has got the most probability to challenge for the title.

“If, something we agreed with both drivers, in a few races’ time, things may change for whatever reasons, bad luck or whatever could be the situation, we may change our position on that.”

Binotto stressed his two drivers are “free to fight on the track”, despite Leclerc having been given instructions to stay behind Vettel in both of the races so far this year.

“I think Charles as a matter of fact he had the ability to be on pole, he had the opportunity to fight for the winning position in Bahrain,” added Binotto.

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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...

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9 comments on “Ferrari could switch championship priority from Vettel to Leclerc”

  1. Awesome. Back the best horse a few races down the line. My my, what a sea change for Ferrari.

    1. I like Binotto, very methodical mind, or at least it seems. He shows passion for Ferrari, as we should expect, but it isn’t what drives his decisions (for now). Promising stuff.

      The problem is, he doesn’t give us material to work with does he? It isn’t a Toto Wolff for example or a Christian Horner. There is time still

      And I do envy his hair

  2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    12th April 2019, 7:03

    On a list of things that really shouldn’t be said publicly, this whole back Vettel, err…. back Leclerc thing rates pretty high.

  3. This is a decision that will be welcome by all. Even Vettel i would presume–will certainly help him once the pressure of the WDC is off him and might result in him performing better.
    And an excellent move by Binotto to announce this in public–will only make Sebastian believe even more that he is the golden boy anymore and needs to bring his A game every race.

  4. This might seem really early to be making comments like this, but when you look at just the sheer number of mistakes Seb has made the last couple of years it is not unreasonable to surmise that Lewis has taken up residence inside of Sebs head and that changing to a new face with none of those scars might not be the worst idea in the world

  5. 2 ways to get the best out of a driver….help them or beat them with a stick…Ferrari seem to favour the latter approach, but Seb is not good under pressure(as we all know)…He won his World titles with Red Bull with Christian who encorouged him at all times and got the best out of him…and if Ferrari want the same results, the stick approach will probably fail….

  6. I’m loving how this Vettel and Leclerc rivalry has started. In pre season it was a bit of a damper when Ferrari said they’d be backing Vettel, and Leclerc mentioned some modest targets of getting a couple of wins.

    But it seems like this is shaping up to be a whole lot more interesting. If Leclerc can keep up this level of form for the next 4 to 5 races, I can see them pinning all their hopes on Charles. Another Vettel error within the next 4 to 5 races.. and he’s pretty much going to lose all his preferential treatment at Ferrari.

    This season has the potential to be awesome if Ferrari lets their drivers race.

    1. If that happens I wouldn’t be surprised if Vet leaves before the end of the year!

  7. Sniff . . . Sniff

    Hmmmm… Familiar Smell

    2007 Perhaps

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