Mattia Binotto, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2019

Leclerc has to learn “some things should not be said on the radio” – Binotto

2019 Russian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says Charles Leclerc’s radio messages during the Singapore Grand Prix were out of line.

Leclerc expressed surprise after he lost the lead to team mate Sebastian Vettel through the pit stops. After he asked whether the team intended to keep the drivers in the same order, Leclerc was told the decision would be taken later in the race.

The team left the drivers in the same order, after which Leclerc told them he didn’t understand the strategy and wanted to discuss it after the race. The team’s sporting director Laurent Mekies then took over from Leclerc’s race engineer on the radio and repeatedly told him to concentrate on the race and not take any risks trying to overtake Vettel.

Binotto told Channel 4 Leclerc’s messages to the team had been inappropriate. “I think there are some things that should not be said on the radio because at the end it would not have changed our decision, or it will only somehow increase the excitement of the race itself,” he said.

“There are times to say something and times not to say. I think in that respect he knows that he has to learn and the fact that he apologised means he understood.”

Leclerc said after the race the team’s replies led him to believe they were considering giving him the lead of the race back. Binotto did not address why Ferrari did not switch their positions, but insisted they would be prepared to use the same tactics again.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Singapore, 2019
Vettel vs Leclerc: Complete Ferrari Singapore team radio transcript
“We discussed but I think the undercut was not there to put Seb in front of Charles but to put Ferrari one and two. If we got any opportunity to do the same I think we’ll still do the same.

“That was the message to Charles which he understood. So certainly we had our discussions, we talked about it, but we are all on the same page.”

Although Vettel was out-qualified by Leclerc again in Russia, Binotto said the four-times champion’s race performances remain his strength.

“Charles is certainly very fast in the quali. Seb is doing [well] in the race, managing the pace, managing the tyres, and as a matter of fact he started third in Singapore and finished first.

“I think again it can be a great race for him, even starting third he can have an opportunity at the start itself making eventually the jump and then having a good race pace and a good race.”

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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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20 comments on “Leclerc has to learn “some things should not be said on the radio” – Binotto”

  1. What’s not being explicitly said is that, some of the words, crucially, give a window to what Ferrari planned and how they work their scenarios before the race. If merc knows what to expect they’ll counter your tactic. Obviously unecessary ammunition for your critics is like self harm.

  2. Yes, I am sure all the tv, other media, and fans would be happy not to have that insight into how a driver is feeling, especially when F1 are thinking about a lot of ways to make the race weekend more eventful.

    I get it, teams have been at the sanitized driver plan for the longest time, but it has also been one of the main complaints about modern drivers, most of that time. I guess with Ferrari being them, it might make little difference to many of their longtime fans either way.

  3. Reading the transcript of the race, I’m not sure what was out of line in what Leclerc said… I’m sure it added pressure on the team, at some point they were clearly afraid he would do something rash. But “out of line” ?

    1. Well its Ferrari, even by F1 team standards they really don’t like their own personel tall bad about the team in public.

  4. In summary, don’t question anything that the team does. Binotto must really want Bottas in his team instead though that would be at the cost of a driver who can get you wins.

    When I heard Leclerc give a speech on how wrong he was to question Ferrari blah blah (start of this weekend) that just went on and on, I thought it must have been some Ferrari person who wrote it and told him to read it in front of the media. Somehow Binotto re-enforcing the same confirms my suspicion that he was forced to say all that. And one week later, Binotto should also learn to reply to such questions with what happened is done and we have spoken about it internally and all are happy, instead of dragging this on. Learn from Haas.

    1. You can question, but not publically. This is how many high profile companies work, cause it isn’t helpful. You have plenty of meetings after to discuss.

      1. Charles was well within his rights to ask since with Binotto’s post race comments it was obvious that such a scenario was not taken into account and so once Leclerc asked whether he would get his place back, Ferrari was considering whether to give it back to him. I think what Binotto/Ferrari didn’t like was how he kept on complaining and came across as rude at the end of the race.

  5. Yes he should learn how to behave on radio from Vettel … oh wait. Or is it that regularly insulting other drivers, the stewards, the race director and his own team is NOT what they want to hear on the radio?

    1. Well Seb doesn’t insult his team and so they are fine with it. It’s just E G O from Ferrari that a newbie dared openly question them.

    2. I’m gonna have to stop you right there. When has Vettel insulted his team? Ever? He’s one of the few guys who ALWAYS blame himself and his mistakes.

  6. I’m getting more and more confused by this whole Leclerc radio saga. Is there something that was redacted from the transcript we were shown? Because nothing I’ve seen was even worth apologising for, let alone have the team manager continue to criticise the driver after he has done so. He qualified on pole, and lost the race on strategy on a track that is almost impossible to overtake on – asking the reasons why and whether he would be given the position back is extremely mild by most drivers’ standards of how they talk to their teams.

    Hamilton was equally outspoken about questioning his team’s strategy (which he also did in Hungary until it worked out at the end) and I don’t see Toto saying Lewis was “out of line” or needs to learn to hold back on the radio. It almost feels like there was something discussed internally at Ferrari before the race which makes Leclerc’s reaction unnecessary.

    1. Ferrari really really don’t like their personal talking bad or questing stuff in public. This has been part of their culture for long long time. Never air dirty laundry. All teams have it to a point but Ferrari especially are strict about it.

      While the stuff Leclerc said was mild by most of our standards, that’s not the case for Ferrari standards. In their book, you have issues, you bring it up behind closed doors.

  7. I can’t be the only one who thinks Binotto is being unnecessarily harsh in his continued assessment of Leclerc.

    I understand that he upset the team in Monza, but given the whole Q3 debacle I don’t think it made a difference anyway, and the more Binotto talks about him like, the more I feel like Singapore was a screw job.

    I feel like they’d all do well to remember that Vettel only had a shot at winning because Leclerc qualified on pole and then held the field up during the first stint. Hamilton would have just driven off and taken the win otherwise.

    1. @sparkyamg I think Binotto is upset because LecLerc continues to outshine Vettel and he doesn’t know how to handle it.

      1. @sparkyamg @mobiusclean

        Yes, it can be that Leclerc is better than Vettel. But it was also agreed that Leclerc had a second driver status. Leclerc is an anomaly in Ferrari modus operandi, he’s in his second season and he’s already there. I’m super happy to have such a talent in the team, but he’s not staying in his place and this is absolutely the worse in a team like Ferrari: I wanted to see him grateful for what he was given to him, but he’s giving it for granted and I’m kinda bitter about that. I’m sure the team will address this kind of problems and the good thing is that this season they’re not fighting for anything else than races: it’s a good test bed for the upcoming championship and I hope Mattia is tuning the relationships to have less problems in 2020.

  8. I think the one overreacting here is the Ferrari team. He lost the lead through no fault of his own while being on a perfect roll until that point on a track that overtakes were very hard.

    Is he implying Vettel is better on race pace compared to Leclerc? When was the last race he was faster? Canada comes to mind were Leclerc finished 6 seconds behind him. Singapore I would say no considering he had dropped back from Hamilton 3 seconds before the stops(while Leclerc was backing the field mind you).

    Am I the only one finding those comments unnecessary? Like Ferrari holds a grudge towards Leclerc or something.

    1. Ferrari just Hayes it when their drivers fall out of line. They run a tight ship when it comes to criticizing by their own personel.

  9. This is yet another glaring example of Ferrs standard 2 faced bs towards CL.
    SV is totally outclassed But Ferrs couldn’t contemplate losing a WDC winning driver.
    Their Latin pride has cost them in the past & is now, unfortunately, glaringly to the fore again.

  10. And this is why, outside of the Tifosi, Ferrari make themselves so hard to like. It’s all about the team being special above all else, Forza Ferrari, like some racing version of North Korea.

    Sorry Charles, but you’re not the overpaid chosen one…. yet. Keep up the good fight.

  11. Seriously they need a touch of Steiner about them. Well at least his bluntness. Something like, yes Charles we will swap you back when you get within half a second of Vettel. otherwise we will lose to much time to the Mercs. You want to be swapped go faster.

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