Mattia Binotto, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Binotto unsure Ferrari can stop another team orders row

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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Ferrari may not be able to prevent a repeat of the team orders row which took place between its drivers in Sochi, team principal Mattia Binotto has admitted.

Sebastian Vettel repeatedly refused to obey the team’s instructions to let Charles Leclerc overtake him following the Safety Car period in the Russian Grand Prix. They pair swapped positions at the start under a pre-race agreement made with the team to help Vettel get ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Binotto met separately with both drivers following the race. “We had positive, constructive, honest, fair, transparent discussions with both of them,” he said in today’s FIA press conference.”

However he admitted he isn’t confident the situation will not be repeated in future.

“What happened in Sochi [was] nothing really bad but certainly something that needs to be improved and addressed. I think it’s only an opportunity of lesson learned and trying to do better in the future. But how much I’m confident it will not happen, I’m not at all.

“These are both very good drivers. They are [both] going for a single objective which is winning themselves but I think what again is more important is that at least between us we’ve got clarity and fairness and I think that’s key.”

Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Sochi Autodrom, 2019
Complete Ferrari Russian Grand Prix team radio transcript
Yesterday Vettel admitted he had been wrong to ignore the team’s instructions.

Despite his concerns, Binotto does not believe there is a risk the situation could escalate out of control.

“No I don’t think there is the risk of losing control because there is a difference between not managing drivers and at least having the attempt to manage them. There is always a solution which is not manage them – maybe someone may do.

“So I think our intention is to try to manage the situation to the benefit of the team and secondly to the benefit, overall, as well, of the drivers. We may do a few things that can be addressed or improved and I think that is what we are building and trying to do for the future.”

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2019 F1 season

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36 comments on “Binotto unsure Ferrari can stop another team orders row”

  1. Mercedes might help them. Tempers fly generally lower when fighting for third or fourth instead of fighting for first.

    1. (That’s true everywhere, if in 2021 McLaren happen to be front runners, I believe Norris and Sainz would be far less chumy)

  2. He sounds like a *imp incapable of putting his drivers on leash. If you cannot control your drivers then resign immedeatly as principal.

    1. Sounds to me like a shrewd people manager, trying to maximize both drivers’ performances. Vettel is fighting for his place right now, while Leclerc is developing from race to race (including learning some of the darker arts). They lost the last race because of a mechanical issue, not because their drivers fell out because they’re competing and probably improving their performances as a result. The big dilemma will be when they eventually crash, which seems an inevitable part of these rivalries. In the mean time I suspect that Ferrari think that this is all good experience for their future world champion – Leclerc.

      1. They would have lost the race in Russia irrespective of technical failure as soon after Russells had a crash. The problem is how Binotto is handling both his drivers and it doesnt come off as too affirmative and tell his driver to behave rather someone who is exact opposite. I think will they crash is out of question considering we have example of Sena-Prost, Hamilton-Rosberg and even in early years Webber-Vettel all of whom had coming together on track.

    2. Binotto is doing a 4 man job at Ferrari and he’s doing it well
      The best he could actually considering it’s his first year

  3. It all comes down to team leadership and controlling your drivers.

    In ‘Multi-21’ we got from Christian Horner “come on Seb, this is silly”- hardly great team control.
    At the same time Nico was asking to overtake Lewis, on numerous times Ross Brawn said no, hold position. When asked if it annoyed him Nico kept asking his response was “No, I would be annoyed if he stopped asking”

    Nothing against Binotto, he seems to have bring some harmony to Ferrari but not sure he is a strong leader when he needs to be? Interesting to see how this one plays out.

  4. Then he’s lost control. Simple as that.

  5. Vettel is too much of a coward to fight fairly, he will always use politics and his fans as a way to get advantages over his teammates. If Leclerc was smart he wouldn’t help vettel and just focus on winning races

    1. >After a generic race: Get rid of Vettel he is useless.
      >After a race that Vettel performes well: Yeah, Alonso, Leclerc, Ricciardo, etc would have done it better.
      >At 3AM on a Friday before the race, after Vettel commented that F1 should consider the fans due to the typhoon (what a reptilian hypocrite…): God, i cannot stand Vettel and his hypocrisy.
      >5 minutes after New Years Eve’s celebrations: Seriously how is it possible that Vettel has the nerve to celebrate the new year and not retire. Sebastian Bourdais should have been promoted in 2009 to Red Bull instead of this talentless coward…

      Mate we get it, you don’t like Vettel… A LOT. It would be helpful to use this anger towords something more productive instaed of bashing Vettel, or Vettel’s hairstyle, or Vettel’s picture of his puppy, etc… at every single opportunity.

      1. The only reason vettel won Singapore was because Leclerc out qualified hamilton. The only reason vettel even had a chance at russia is because Leclerc listened to the team and left the inside open

        1. And the only reason Vettel was ever born was to annoy you with his every breath… Seriously, and i’m saying this with genuine concern, move on to something more productive.

          PS1: In Singapore Vettel had a 0.5sec SLOWER pit stop than Leclerc and he took 4sec (FOUR!!!) on a single lap.
          PS2: In Russia even if Leclerc defended his line on the inside, Vettel would have overtaken him on the outside because of the great launch+slipsteam (see Russia 2017 Bottas’s start).

          But god forbid, this moves were made by Vettel! Who as we know is a coward and talentless, therefore it happened by pure luck. If by any chance, Hamilton, Alonso, Ricciardo, or even Pastor Maldonado made these exact moves, then it would be logical because they are much much greater drivers than a nobody named Sebastian Vettel.

        2. If Leclerc would have closed inside both would have had a massive crash(considering the radio message we heard from Vettel he wouldnt have braked for his teammate going in 2nd corner) and Vettel had overtaken Hamilton before the 1st corner and would have gotten Leclerc irrespective of their prior agreement. I am not a fan of either that team or any of its drivers but the team and Leclerc were fools and more in wrong compared to Vettel.

      2. David Gyarmati
        11th October 2019, 14:54


  6. Simply solution…no team orders…just let them race. They’re not fighting for either the WDC or WCC so no need to favour one driver over the other.

    1. @robbie +1 This way Ferrari get to see what both drivers can achieve as on track rivals.

      1. Lol just noticed that should have read ‘Simple solution, not Simply. Yeah I really see no point whatsoever in team orders in their current scenario. Their only order should be a normal one like RBR uses in quali where they alternate from one race to the next as to who comes out first for quali runs. Other than that, just let them settle it on the track. Let them finish off their season without politics so they and we can have a sense that it will all be up for grabs again next season between the two, without one being automatically favoured over the other.

    2. just let them race

      That already doesn’t work with a faster car behind a slower one, how should this even happen in equal cars?

      1. Lol, true at some tracks. Let’s just say let the chips fall where they may without team politics coming into it. Equal cars doesn’t always mean equal performances by both drivers on a given day. Sometimes it’s much about track position and how they qualify, and sometimes less so.

  7. I don’t believe a team really benefits if their drivers follow instructions blindly. I think it kills a bit of the killer instinct it takes to be a world champion. Not to say they should never follow instructions, but there are times a driver has to take it on the chin and do what he thinks is right. On the instance of Vettel not letting Charles pass, I think if Charles had been more aggressive in following, I would have more blame for Seb. In the first couple laps, before DRS is enabled, the lead has to push really hard to try to build the gap. If he lets off just a little, he is giving the challengers an opportunity.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      11th October 2019, 18:59

      Show me a good team player who follows every instruction and you’ll be showing me a great number 2 driver.

      Nevermind Vettel – in the same situation, would Senna, Schumacher, Alonso or Hamilton have slowed down and let Leclerc past? Not. A. Chance.

      1. @petebaldwin Agreed. Well said.

      2. @petebaldwin Yep, might as well quote Hamilton:

        I think Charles had said that ‘I’ll let you take the tow’ and didn’t move and defend which he should have done. You don’t give up a place and then expect to get it back.

        Not so much that Vettel was cynical, but Lelcerc was naive.

      3. There is one clear example where Hamilton let his team mate past on the last lap in order to honour an agreement earlier in the race which let Hamilton take the lead.

  8. Get rid of the awefull radio communication altogether, team orders are just terrible.

  9. This is what happens when there are no real consequences to disobeying team orders. Yes, you can shout all you want about how “no driver is bigger than the team”, but Vettel’s RB tenure showed that really wasn’t 100% true.

    It’s easy: you disobey a team order, you’re suspended for the next race. You must be publicly sanctioned for insubordination. No slaps on the wrist behind the scenes. It’s the only way to ensure the team does not lose control of their employees.

    1. @thepostalserviceisbroke Lol so draconian. They would never take one of their prime drivers away from the next race. They would only be shooting themselves in the foot for the Championships.

      1. They have reserve drivers for a reason.

        But you’re 100% right. Which just goes to buttress my comment that teams really can’t control drivers unless they’re absolutely willing to prove with their actions they are the boss.

        1. In vettel’s case fire him and get ricciardo, I guess he’d come to ferrari despite everything, then ferrari will have 2 strong drivers and ricciardo will get back to a decent car.

        2. @thepostalserviceisbroke But my point is they are highly unlikely to set up an atmosphere of such draconian control over their drivers and expect to remain a desirable place for worthy drivers to want to go. Team principals know they have egotistical high level athletes on their hands, most often in demand, and even though the drivers themselves know that no one driver is bigger than the team, they do have a lot of weight as the face of the team…the quarterback, the closer, the one for whom they entrust the car in which hundreds of millions have been invested. No top driver will go to a team (or stay for long) with a reputation of such hard control over it’s drivers. Obey us with every team order or sit out…just doesn’t fly, obviously, or we would have seen it by now.

  10. So I think our intention is to try to manage the situation to the benefit of the team and secondly to the benefit, overall, as well, of the drivers.

    I think Mattia has managed this very well. It was wrong to give Charles the impression that if Sebastian passed him, and especially if he got a bit of a lead over Charles, and even more especially if he himself didn’t keep up with Sebastian and didn’t have much of a lead over a Mercedes car, then there’d be team orders to give him his place back. Team orders should always be for the benefit of the team, and it was obvious that by the time Charles started to complain a swap would have benefited Mercedes more than Ferrari. So yes, Charles had a right to consider himself a bit hard done by, but no, swapping cars would have been the wrong thing to do.

    1. Agree with that, possibly at the end of the race.

  11. I’ll tell you an easy way to avoid another team orders row…


  12. Ferrari just should let them race. This ferrari first nonsense is not doing them any favours on track or off of it. Ferrari is not fighting for any championships here so why are they trying to micromanage their drivers? Only thing this micromanagement does it makes the ferrari team leadership look like amateurs when the drivers do pretty much what they want and then air the dirty laundry in the radio afterwards.

    It is not easy for the drivers either when the goals and minds seem to change depending situation and based on or ignoring what was agreed earlier. All this constant indeciseveness will just increase the resentment between the drivers because everytime one of them does something they get away with it. Then ferrari clumsily tries to fix it by more meddling and now the drivers can not trust their team mate to behave and neither can they trust in ferrari leadership to do what was agreed and penalize the ones who break the agreements. The drivers have unsolved issues but the leadership pretends it is all according to their plan.

    Only agreement ferrari needs between their drivers is to let the another one go by when they are on different strategy. And obviously not crash into the car. For everything else just let them go at it. If it was up to me I’d raise the stakes even more. The driver who comes on top will get the preferential treatment when the next season starts. It is either that or do what ferrari says. But the latter is not working because the drivers are doing what they want and ferrari has been proven incapable to handle it.

  13. Ferrari & Managing! Up there for Oxymoron of the year 2019!

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