Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Vettel will follow team orders if it makes sense but won’t “make Charles’s life easy”

2020 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel says his impending departure from Ferrari at the end of the year won’t make him any more or less likely to follow team orders during races.

Team principal Mattia Binotto has said Vettel and Charles Leclerc will be given equal treatment this year. But he added he is prepared to impose team orders if there are “clear situations” when doing so will bring a better result for the team.

Vettel repeatedly ignored an instruction from Ferrari to let Leclerc pass him at last year’s Russian Grand Prix, which he later admitted was a mistake. Speaking in an FIA press conference at the Red Bull Ring yesterday, he said it was reasonable to expect drivers to follow team orders when they make sense.

“I’ve always, I think, tried to integrate inside the team and the same goes for my time with Ferrari,” said Vettel. “I think as much as obviously you want to have success on track and look out for your own result I think in the end you’re driving for a team as well.

“I think this year it’s very difficult to answer because we don’t know what type of season we will have ahead of us. We don’t know yet how competitive we will be, et cetera.

Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Sochi Autodrom, 2019
The Ferrari pair were at odds over team orders last year
“But should the situation arise and make perfect sense, then I think you expect both drivers to help each other out. I don’t think that has anything to do with the fact that my contract expires and I’m going to leave the team.

“But as I said, at the same time, obviously, you’re racing for yourself. So I’m not trying to make Charles’s life easy on track in terms of waving him by. I think we have been fighting each other in the past and we will continue to do so.”

While Ferrari has played down its potential at the start of the year, Vettel said the team’s title hopes shouldn’t be written off before the season has begun. But he admitted they had not produced a car capable of beating Mercedes to the title during his time with the team so far.

“Since the day that I joined we’ve tried everything together to fight for the championship, which I think is what we’ve done on several occasions,” he said. “We did not win the championship so in that regard looking back also you can say that I have failed, we have failed.

“Obviously, we set out with a clear target that we wanted to achieve. And the truth is that up to this point, we didn’t. We still have this season ahead of us.

“Given that it’s such a strange season, strange start without fans, without people here, I think it’s impossible to know exactly what will expect us. So I think it would be too soon to write everything off.

“But when we talk about looking back, I think here and there was missing a little bit. I think in the end, we were never able to put the package together that was good enough until the end of the year to fight for the championship.

“We got close until I would say midway, halfway in some years. But then the gap was opening up and I think we then were defeated quite clearly by Mercedes and Lewis in those years.

“In the end, it’s quite simple, we were not quick enough, our package wasn’t good enough and as a team, we were not as strong as Mercedes.”

2020 F1 season

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13 comments on “Vettel will follow team orders if it makes sense but won’t “make Charles’s life easy””

  1. So we can expect a lot of repetition of Singapore and Sochi and should keep popcorn ready.

    1. This could become Vettels record year on unforced errors yes, popcorn ready

  2. In a sad way… looking forward to the Caption contests: Ghost Racing Edition.

    We can’t read their lips… so we must read their minds. And as we know, everyone on the internet can read minds… or is that memes?

  3. Honestly, what the beep are we doing here?

  4. Hi @keithcollantine @dieterrencken do you had any comment about press conference questions monopoly by The Race F1TV?

    I read that none of Autosport 13 questions had been used. I hope RaceFans didn’t get affected by this policy.

    1. @ruliemaulana Is that true? I’ve got to say since they all jumped ship I’ve preferred The Race to Autosport’s coverage, I didn’t realise they had a monopoly on the questions though?

      1. @bernasaurus here the link on Twitter

  5. Just like last year, then!

  6. Vettel made Leclerc’s life too easy last year even without letting him by.
    Russia and Brazil can’t be called hard racing. They were Vettel’s acts of protests against loosing his #1 status.
    So all Vettel has to do is drive faster, and the pressure will be towards Leclerc.

  7. Now you have a small season but with 1 driver in your team that won’t help the other when he needs.
    Looks like it’s going to be a disaster season for Ferrari.
    You didn’t renew 1 driver and he has to drive all this season for your mark. What a bad management they have at Ferrari!!

  8. There’s a role reversal this year, the pressure off Vettel, no longer expected to deliver a championship for Ferrari, and on Leclerc, leading a team ‘officially’ for the first time. Could go either way, though I expect a tough year for Leclerc. Maybe fewer pressures from Vettel, more demands on him, and less leniency from other drivers (and maybe FIA stewards, anything is possible) if he maintains his aggressive driving from last season. And the car itself, they could be bluffing, but more likely that they’re off the pace again.

    1. (fewer mistakes from Vettel)

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