Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monza, 2019

Why Binotto told Leclerc “today you are forgiven” after Monza win

2019 Italian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto gave Charles Leclerc an unusual message on the radio immediately after his victory in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

While Leclerc began celebrating his victory in front of the Monza crowd, Binotto told him “oggi sei perdonato”, which means ‘today you are forgiven’.

Binotto was asked what he meant by the remark after the race during the team’s press conference involving him, Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

“‘Oggi sei perdonato’ – it means that whatever happens in the last days that we discussed – that’s something that will remain between our three – at least today he did a good job,” said Binotto.

“That’s for me as a way of telling him that today at least we’re happy for the job he did,” he added.

While Binotto was unwilling to elaborate on what Leclerc needed to be ‘forgiven’ for, Vettel had expressed dissatisfaction with Leclerc’s driving in qualifying 24 hours earlier.

Vettel had given his team mate the benefit of the tow in their first run in Q3 and Leclerc was supposed to return the favour on their subsequent run. However Vettel overtook Leclerc shortly after they left the pits and Leclerc did not re-pass his team mate until the end of the lap, by which time it was too late for either of them to complete their final runs.

Vettel qualified fourth while Leclerc took pole position. After the race Leclerc said Vettel had been “extremely unlucky” in qualifying.

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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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59 comments on “Why Binotto told Leclerc “today you are forgiven” after Monza win”

  1. So they still favour Vettel?
    Guess it is a contract thing and can’t do anything else

    1. If each had to give a tow to the other, and vettel had already done his part to benefit his team mate, how can this be in Vettel’s favour?

      If vettel can’t be accused of one thing is his loyalty to the team’s decisions, standing by each one of them. Leclerc on the other hand, is always looking for a way to avoid doing what he’s been told to favour himself.

      1. Well Vettel passed Leclerc and when he had to follow him closely he did not. I m not saying he could do better in that farce but still you can’t blame Leclerc for that.
        I agree with the loyalty comments and that Leclerc is more or less trying to prove himself, but I don’t think this was the case this time

        1. He passed to urge him to speed up.
          LEC deserved his flag!
          He effectively screwed his teammate for his own profit.

          1. Good. Your teammate is the one you want to screw first. Leclerc needed to assert his dominance and he has done it over the last few races. If he wasn’t faster we wouldn’t be talking about this. It is nice to see Vettel fall like this though. Who is the cucumber now?

      2. +1. Vettel lost a pole due to LEC’s illoyal behaviour not to deliver on this commitment.

        1. Vettel lost his pole by not putting in a good enough time in his first run. You can’t blame the second run fiasco on Charles. All the teams were to blame for it… including Vettel’s own team.

      3. and vettel had already done his part to benefit his team mate

        I suggest you rewatch Q3 Vettel didn’t give Leclerc a tow, in fact Leclerc even complained on the radio about Vettel driving off.

      4. Mr Robert Smith
        11th September 2019, 5:37

        Multi 21 Seb, multi 21.

    2. Your tinfoil hat must be the size of Texas.

    3. Ferrari are crazy if they are still favoring Vettel, Leclerc may not have 4x titles but he sure as hell is driving better then one with 4x titles

      1. There is the small matter of a contract that say the must. Unless Vettel decides to call his car a heap of junk on national TV, he is being treated as he requested.

        That of course hasn’t made him drive like a No.1.

    4. @georgeboole, the indication from some sources, such as Motorsport Magazine, is that Ferrari felt that Leclerc was refusing to co-operate with the instructions from the team that they would alternate towing each other around the track for the best result for the team.

      It seems they were rather frustrated that Leclerc was more interested in prioritising his own interests over the interests of the team – his behaviour helped ensure he was on pole, but probably also cost the team the chance of a front row lock out and a potential 1-2 finish.

      The “forgiveness” was for winning the race, but it seems that the team perhaps thought that his behaviour in qualifying was going to cost the team the chance of getting that victory in the first place – with their higher rear tyre wear rate, Ferrari thought their chances of winning were better if they had both drivers in front of the two Mercedes drivers, since that way it would be easier to defend when you have track position.

      1. his behaviour helped ensure he was on pole, but probably also cost the team the chance of a front row lock out and a potential 1-2 finish.

        Nope, that problem is called Seb Vettel.

        1. I’m going to have to defend Vettel again. These are the qualifying stats before the mid-season break, Vettel’s qualifying pace was relatively fine:
          https://www.racefans.net/2019/08/16/vettel-is-struggling-to-outdo-the-ever-improving-leclerc/

          Ok, Spa was a blip, but from the press lately you’d think it was similar to Alonso vs Vandoorne.

    5. Another fan-boy @georgeboole vettel is is down, stop kickin

      1. @peartree no fanboys here I m just stating my opinion.
        Vettel is down and that’s a bad thing for the sport. But since he is down the team has to prioritise what they want.
        Chances to win or chances to make Vettel feel better?
        I said it a few comments before. Leclerc is trying to prove himself and he is doing it in any way he can. Even if that means he screws his teammate. I never said I agree with that.
        But still he is performing better than his teammate and we all saw what favouritism did in the first few races. And I know we all disagree with that.
        I d love to see Vettel perform again this year, although I doubt he will.

    6. Nothing about a contract here.

      They agreed who is gonna give a tow to who and Charles in championsihp fashion “forgot” to return the favour to gain an advantage.

      But would Vettel win form P1? Who knows quite certainly Charles would have a much harder time, his first Q3 lap was not great, with good tow Vettel and both Mercedeses would pass him in Quali.

      Mercedes was also faster car, it would be hard for Ferrari to overtake them.

      Charles thus showed killer instinct, destroyed teammate won the opposition at all cost. He is forgiven for being unsporting. Very possible Ferrari wouldn’t have a win without his selfish actions. There is doubt, how Vettel would handle the race from P1. Probably that is why he was furious in and after the race, because “injustice” was done to him.

    7. @georgeboole …they haven’t favoured a specific driver, they’ve favoured better colective results. Binotto stated that Germany 2018 was not going happen anymore then sky started twisting it. sky asked if they were going to favour vettel, binotto fell for it. Kind of hard to explain that if vettel is the quicker driver he’ll get favoured without saying that it has nothing to do with vettel in itself or harm team harmony. That’s what journos do.

  2. Part 2 of q3 was such a mess anyway……. my dog was looking at me wide eyed at 2mins 10 sec to go as if to ask “what the heck are they doing???? “

  3. “…by which time it was too late for either of them to complete their final runs.”
    I thought LEC did make it to the line on time but they shut him down because:
    1. There was no point in having him run as he already had the pole.
    2. VET would be further enraged as he didn’t have a chance to best the Mercedes team but LEC did.

    Karma is going to be coming for LEC in the next month most likely from VER or even VET.

      1. Whoa, I missed that in your article, I was focusing on the juicy exchanges between those who didn’t make the flag :). Like @jimfromus , I’d assumed they told him to back off seeing it was only Sainz who could make a timed run. I’d be curious as to why his race engineer made that error, because for us TV viewers it was apparent from the leaderboard within seconds of Leclerc crossing that he was on a valid lap.

      2. @keithcollantine
        Which is strange, because on the world feed both Sainz and Leclerc were both shown without a chequered flag against their name as the clock hit zero, which at least in theory means Leclerc had not taken the chequered flag.

    1. Leclerc might have done Ferrari a favor even if it was a bad intention. Vettel on pole would have cracked immediately with Mercedes’s pressure

  4. Gotta sprinkle some holy vibes

    1. This is a fairly common expression in Portuguese as well.

  5. What exactly was Leclerc meant to do in that mess of a session? I don’t understand why Vettel/Ferrari seem to blame him for not giving Seb a tow. He did even overtake Seb down towards Parabolica to try and give him a tow, but time ran out.
    Ferrari should be favouring Leclerc now anyway, pole and win 2 races in a row while Vettel gets 4th and then 13th or whatever it was in the end. Leclerc should be the one getting the tow on the final runs.

    1. @hugh11 From their team radio messages, it seems Vettel felt Leclerc should have re-passed him sooner. However it seemed to me Ferrari were rather late in telling Leclerc to re-pass him. Whether they should have needed to is probably a point Vettel feels strongly about…

    2. he should have made the pass on Vettel much earlier, regardless of the session being a mess or not.

      the way it went, only made them think he wasn’t willing to give a tow and help Vettel because doing so it would mean he could lose the lead of the session.

  6. Leclerc wasn’t playing it nicely on saturday and I think he knew exactly what he was doing. It will come back at him at some point, be it qualification or hard racing from Vettel. After all, both aren’t in contention to the WDC anyway and I feel Vettel has nothing to lose at this point.

    On Vettel: it’s not good for any F1 driver if people (in this case me, but I guess I’m not alone on this one) are starting to feel sorry for you…

    1. …be it qualification or hard racing from Vettel.

      Then Leclerc has nothing to worry about. We all have been watching what happens when Vettel tries to race wheel-to-wheel.

      ** Spoiler alert ** He just spins.

    2. To bad he seems to be loosing in quali quite baddly. And making mistakes in the race every second race.

    3. @mcbosch
      I don’t know for certain whether Leclerc was to blame for the whole qualifying mess. There’s a chance that he intentionally didn’t pass Vettel earlier.. and there’s a chance that the chaos at the start of the second run left him confused as to what he should be doing. Even Binotto’s statements are rather cryptic and we don’t know for certain whether he is forgiven for his qualifying antics … or for his slip up in Germany.. or something else.

      Regardless of this Melodrama created by Binotto and Vettel, I think it worked out better for the team that Leclerc took pole position. Vettel doesn’t even look like a race winner anymore, and it’s a no brainer for Ferrari to start supporting Leclerc going forward.

      Ferrari have made their fair share of preferential decisions favouring Vettel early on in the season. In Australia, Bahrain & China, Leclerc was shafted for the benefit of Vettel. It must have been frustrating for him to establish himself in the team, when he isn’t allowed to beat a driver he is more than capable of beating. So, I can’t blame him for putting his elbows out and fighting for his own results.

      Additionally, I can’t feel sorry for a driver who pulled off the ‘multi21’ fiasco a few years ago. So…. tough luck for Vettel. If he really wants preferential treatment.. he should drive like a driver who deserves it.

  7. Actually Binotto was also in complete disbelief at the stewards “forgiveness” and had to hastily come up with this cover story when questioned about it!

  8. Good thing Vettel made complete mess of his race again, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

  9. Summing up. Charles was utterly ruthless in ensuring his Monza win. Coulthard reports that Vettel was ‘ranting’ Saturday night, and certainly his race performance suggests it got to him heavily. Binotto’s comments suggests the team sided with Vettel’s assessment, at least, that he wasn’t fair in reciprocating the tow.

    1. I’m going to be as objective as I can on this matter. Based on the past 2 races, we’ve seen that Leclerc isn’t willing to be a team player when it comes to sticky situations. If that’s how he’s going to earn his fame and success, then I say “go for it”. Afterall, it’s his way of achieving success. It may not be the nicest thing to do considering what his teammate did to get his maiden win.

      On the other side of the garage, Seb looks like he’s done with assisting Leclerc (as we saw him not attempting to give Charles the tow while being blue flagged). Seb needs to roll into acceptance by being beaten by his teammate because he’s[Leclerc] slowly becoming the #1 driver (and rightly so). It won’t be the first time we see a champion being beaten by a new driver. That’s my 2 cents

      1. @lebz That’s more or less my conclusion too. Provided he delivers the performance, I’m sure the team will remain onside. Like you said, Vettel is already done with helping him, though, and Hamilton is ready to make life rougher too next time round, along with Max obviously. Should be interesting at least.

      2. @lebz I think that’s fair enough. In all fairness, how many quick, young drivers are good team players? Seb certainly wasn’t!

        1. “Multi twenty one, Seb. Multi twenty one.”

      3. How do you give a tow under blue flags when you’ve already seen the flag about 5 times.

      4. @lebz

        I agree. Personally, I’m glad that Leclerc is getting a little selfish and ruthless. He was way too nice and subservient when the season started, which made me fear he could go down the Barrichello route. Vettel isn’t quite the Schumacher or Alonso calibre of Ferrari #1 driver, so Leclerc taking the fight to him left Ferrari a little confused.

        Currently, it seems like Leclerc is the horse to back, but if Ferrari don’t want to further demotivate their overpaid 4 time WDC winner…. then just let them race. As you mentioned, I don’t see either Ferrari driver doing each other favours anyways, and it’s not like Ferrari are fighting for the WDC this year.

        Let them battle it out among themselves and see who comes out on top.

        My money is on Leclerc though.

  10. I don’t think this is about Vettel, but rather maximising the teams result. If Charles had helped Vettel onto the front row, a Ferrari 1-2 could have been possible. No driver is bigger than Ferrari, especially at Monza. Even Schumi knew that when he helped Irvine in 1999.

  11. “New Kid in Town” by Eagles comes to mind…

  12. I’m with @d0senbrot

    But I also think that even if Seb was annoyed or angry by the situation in Q3, the timing from the pitlane was rubbish and it’s more a team’s fault than Leclerc. I suppose Charles didn’t want to give Seb a tow or whatever, but being in the middle of the traffic jam that was inevitable didn’t help either of them.

  13. What goes around comes around. Remember Multi 21 in 2013 Malaysia GP when Webber was at the receiving end. Now Leclerc did the same. Seb must have complained after qualifying and thats why Binotto told Leclerc “today you are forgiven” after Monza win. Just my 2 cents..

  14. Multi 21 Charles! Multi 21.

  15. Vettel had given his team mate the benefit of the tow in their first run in Q3

    Yes oddly enough, Vettel kept saying that, but he hadn’t really either though. Leclerc did get a tow, but that was because he was lucky to pick up a tow from someone else. It wasn’t from Vettel.

    Besides, Vettel passed Leclerc so what does he expect?

    1. Vettel did give Charles tow, Vettel was driving in front of everyone and Charles let renaults go between them. Charles probably did want to give him tow but didn’t want to not have tow himself.

  16. Or runs into the back of you.

  17. I’m glad that Leclerc is beginning to stretch his legs so to speak but I hope we don’t see a repeat of 2014 again. It’ll be interesting to see what he will do in the future, but for me im guessing it was either two things
    1. Team Confusion
    2. Or Leclerc didn’t want to play the team game and wanted to do things for himself
    And a reminder that binnotto quite clearly stated that they would favor vettel early in the season and favour Leclerc later in the season. And here is an article stating that:https://www.racefans.net/2019/04/12/ferrari-could-switch-championship-priority-from-vettel-to-leclerc/

  18. So he was supposed to pull Seb around on Saturday so Seb could have pole only to screw up and hand a win to Mercedes….. ya I think Seb is your new wingman Charles.

  19. Er, Multi 21 Seb, Multi 21…

    Karma can be tough!

  20. Lol to those referencing Multi 21. So is Seb to pay for that for the rest of his career to some fans? How many more times will we hear Multi 21? Is he the only driver to ever ignore a team order? How long shall this ‘karma’ last? It is not like the incidents are even comparable. An order during a race vs an agreement to share towing duties in quali 6 years later? The things some people will stoop to in order to ‘support’ a viewpoint.

    Also, imho it is not about that the end of quali turned into a joke and therefore what does it matter…the point is CL displayed no intention of playing fair by reciprocating the towing duties. That’s fine in the sense that I don’t expect 100% fair play at all times in the setting that is a highly charged F1. There was a race a few seasons ago (or was it last year) when DR couldn’t seem to grasp the normal way it worked between he and Max, as they alternated who came out first or second in quali weekend by weekend, in order to achieve perfect fairness. Some are now starting to refer to LH as the goat and he helped precipitate the Spygate fiasco by ignoring a team order, which prevented FA from putting in another quali lap, which infuriated him especially when RD did nothing to manage the situation. MS was the dirtiest driver one could imagine, literally driving others off the track at times and literally hitting them at others, and some consider him the goat.

    All Seb can do now is take the gloves off and show us and CL that he means business, if he can. This is the type of stuff I wish we had with the ones in the WCC cars. A gloves-off rivalry. It didn’t start that way as Ferrari said they would favour SV in any 50-50 situations. But unfortunately while SV and CL will likely squabble now for their place, Seb likely burning to get on top of the situation, LH will cruise to another WDC happy to have VB for ever and ever if he had his way.

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