Ferrari did not sacrifice Vettel to help Leclerc – Binotto

2020 British Grand Prix

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Ferrari says it did not ‘sacrifice’ Sebastian Vettel’s strategy at Silverstone yesterday to help Charles Leclerc complete the race with a single pit stop.

Vettel made his first pit stop four laps after his team mate. However the team brought him in again after just 11 laps on the hard rubber, giving him a set of mediums.

The team then decided not to give Leclerc a second pit stop and left him out. He went on to finish fourth, the best result of any driver who completed the race with a single pit stop.

Prior to his second pit stop, Vettel was running 10th behind Esteban Ocon – who also completed the race with a single pit stop – and Carlos Sainz Jnr. The extra stop left the Ferrari driver out of the points at the end of the race.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto insisted Vettel’s strategy was driven by his own race situation, and not his team mate’s.

“We were not sacrificing Seb,” said Binotto. “We thought at the time that it would have made no difference for him stopping a bit earlier or later.

“I think that reviewing all the data, eventually by leaving Seb outside on track we may have left at least the one-stop strategy open to him as well, which we didn’t. It’s not a matter of ‘sacrificing’ or not.

“He always says that maximising the team’s points is the first priority. I think we tried to achieve that and not were trying to compromise anyone.”

Vettel complained about his strategy on the radio during the race, saying the team had “messed up” by putting him in traffic with his second pit stop. He felt this disguised the improvements the team had made with his car’s race pace since last weekend.

“We worked hard in the weekend and the car felt a little bit better than last weekend,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “Maybe it didn’t show in the performance in qualifying but I think in the race we got more competitive.

“Last week if anything I was struggling to stay with the people. Today I was able to go faster but was still stuck. I think that’s probably true for both of us.

“In the end we were able to do a one-stop strategy, which I think we didn’t believe we could pull off before the race on a softer tyre, one step overall, and a hotter track. I think in this regard it has been a good race. But still obviously there’s a lot more to do.”

Leclerc said he insisted Ferrari try to run a one-stop strategy on his car before the race.

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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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35 comments on “Ferrari did not sacrifice Vettel to help Leclerc – Binotto”

  1. Fun fact: If Verstappen hadn’t retired from the opening race (let’s assume he would finnish second) and Red Bull hadn’t decided to pit him late in the British Grand Prix, he would be leading the championship by one point. Shame that there are three Mercedes strongholds in the calendar coming.

    1. And yet, people mock the Mercedes people whenever they talk about the need to push harder, guard against complacency and not take anything for granted until the very end. Even those Mercedes strongholds may not necessarily turn out that way. For example, if Spain is as hot as forecasts say it will be, how sure are you that Red Bull won’t be better than them?

      1. @sebsronnie Because over the course of a season, the fastest and most reliable car wins. The situation that @pironitheprovocateur mentions still has Hamilton’s and Bottas’ tyres delaminating, Hamilton getting a grid penalty for Austria etc. while Verstappen’s luck is supposedly perfect. It’s nice to think about, but there’s no way Verstappen would actually be winning the WDC, not when one car is able to qualify 1 second ahead every race.

      2. @sebsronnie Yes, the Spanish GP weekend should be quite hot as at the moment, the forecast shows 31, 32, and 30 degrees for practice, QLF, and race day respectively, although the compound combination is the same as for Silverstone 1, i.e., from the hardest end of the range, so mightn’t necessarily be a struggle for Mercedes, but time will tell.

        1. Hard to predict right now. For some reason, Silverstone does seem to be especially hard on tyres, so the delamination/puncture dramas of the last 2 races are unlikely to be repeated, but maybe we’re seeing a weakness of the Merc?

          In any case – should make for great racing!

    2. That means Mercedes is not really dominant then. Since Both Mercedes drivers have maximised.

  2. I can believe Ferrari not actually thinking about this just to test the tyres for Leclerc (although they frequently do so with their second driver), since they normally haven’t been able to focus on the right strategy for more than one of their cars in recent years anyway. If even that.

  3. This comment from Bintto is just ridiculous. Seriously man? The Team did 2 bad calls and he just cant admit it. Shows the brilliant culture at Ferrari…

    1. In the interview, Binotto says that they made some bad calls. They didn’t deny the mistake, just denying that they were doing it intentionally to hurt Seb.

      That said, I agree that Ferrari does have systemic issues. That culture of icon-worship often seems to subvert their best leaders.

      I think Binotto is much more capable than he gets credit for.

  4. The culture at Ferrari is in shambles for sure. That’s what is causing the slow car.

    But Seb’s spins are nothing to do with that. Let us not mix the 2 please.

    1. Yeah, I mean, Ferrari’s strategy calls have not been the best. But qualifying 11th and spinning on the first lap to put yourself dead last right from the get-go doesn’t really leave the strategists a whole lot of options…

      1. @dkor it was honestly a bit disturbing to hear Vettel say “you know you’ve messed up” after that start

        1. Yes, that seemed a bit… misplaced

  5. Let’s be a bit down to Earth instead of searching for more controversy. Vettel qualified badly in 12th place which gave him the option to start the race on the hard tires, same as Verstappen. At that stage Ferrari was not planning to sacrifice Vettel in anyway, they has the 2 different strategy on. But then Vettel spun in the first lap and ruined his race on his own. From that moment, all hope of a good result for Ferrari where with Leclerc. So that became the team upmost priority and they certainly used the second car to gather data. It’s quite logical, the only way to go, frankly. At the end of the day, Seb ruined his own race, not the team. I’m surprised we talk more about that strategy than about another unprovoked Vettel spin.

    1. How does it help to gather data to bring in Vettel early?
      If anything they could have used a very long stint of Vettel to analyse the tire wear of the hard compound and then decide to put LeClerc on a one stop.

  6. I guess Vettel is missing his red bull strategists who used to salvage his screwed up races.

  7. Nice accusations from both parties about each other. This is sure fire way of making sure this overglorified midfield team stays in midfield.

  8. Jose Lopes da Silva
    10th August 2020, 12:17

    This is going to be painful to watch for the rest of the season. No wonder every business coach advises not wasting time letting people go after telling them they’re fired.

  9. Lucky Wookiee Ten Dollar
    10th August 2020, 12:17

    If I was Binotto, right now I’d be seriously talking to three people: Frederic Vasseur, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg. The only question in my mind would be which of the two drivers replaces Vettel for the remainder of the season.

    Nothing against Vettel – bad drivers don’t get to be four time world champions. It seems apparent though, from performance and from comments from both sides, that both he and Ferrari would be better off parting company with immediate effect. Take the rest of the year out, maybe take over Hulkenberg’s de facto supersub duties, come back refreshed next year with Aston Martin. Perhaps he could thrive again without the toxic, high-pressure “culture” which has dogged Ferrari for decades.

    As for Ferrari, they might well benefit from Raikkonen’s technical feedback or Hulkenberg’s eagerness. And then there’s the added benefit that we get to see 27 on the side of a Ferrari. Been a while…

    1. I think you’re right, and I have to add unfortunately. I still think Seb is a good driver but there’s no point in staying in the team when your relationship resembles a married couple who hate each other and still have to go on for few more months (as a pundit from my country put it). This could be a story similar to Fisichella and Ferrari in 2009 and I really hope Nico will get his opportunity.

    2. @Lucky Wookiee Ten Dollar In this scenario I’d rather go for either Hulkenberg or Pascal Wehrlein from the inside (simulator role).

    3. After this weekend, I have to agree. That was just a dismal performance all around from Vettel, and his response to it needed a whole lot more self-reflection on his part.

      Of course, the car is not where it should be, at least in terms of the expectations that Ferrari sets for itself, but in the face of that Leclerc has been able to get some decent results; the difference to Seb is pretty stark at this point. Why waste race seat time with somebody whose head and heart are clearly not in the game?

      Kimi and Hulk seem like great choices to me too. Pulling somebody from a simulator/reserve role is a possibility, but there’s obviously an advantage in having somebody who has actually raced at full g-force recently and can be fit to run at full speed from day 1.

      1. Lionel Fournier Moss
        11th August 2020, 0:29

        I think if a driver hasn’t raced in three seasons they lose their super licence. I guess Wehrlein would just be on the cusp of eligibility, depending if they do it on calendar year or championship season. But so is Jenson Button…

    4. Seb’s has mentally checked out at Ferrari.

      This is what happened in 2014 as well, when he was nowhere. Same is occurring now. As I said before, he was already spent as a Ferrari driver by the end of last year, the fact that he’s out out of a drive has further exacerbated his downturn in form. It would be a shame for F1 to lose Vettel at age 33. I still feel RP is a good bet, it will give Seb some purpose, free him from the political pressure cooker that is Ferrari. On a separate note, landing Vettel will lend more credibility to the Aston Martin as well, from a marketing perspective.

      I’d go as far to suggest that if Luca and SM were still in charge at Ferrari, they’d have “amicably” parted ways with Vettel, for the good of the team. Right now, he is not helping Ferrari in the Constructor’s, if this goes on, they could finish below Renault.

      Based on this weekend alone, Hulk is a good shout to the end of the year. He will bring home points regularly, and sadly, thats all Ferrari can hope for.

  10. It’s funny really. When Ferrari had Alonso/Massa, or Alonso/Raikkonen, it often looked like Massa & Raikkonen’s Ferraris were just not the same car as Alonso’s. The strategies and the car they had just never seemed as good. When Vettel joined got to admit some of Raikkonen’s strategies were unfathomably dumb and again, his car rarely seemed to perform as well or as reliably as Vettel’s. Now, it kinda looks like Leclerc’s driving Vettel’s old Ferrari and Vettel’s in Raikkonen’s. I don’t want to say Ferrari are undermining Vettel outright, but Massa and Raikkonen were nowhere near as bad or average as they often ended up looking next to Ferrari’s ‘star driver’ – as average as Vettel is now looking. Spin or not, Vettel’s strategy was ridiculous. As Raikkonen and Massa used to complain about too. Clearly and understandably Vettel’s demoralised but I don’t think Ferrari care much about him anymore either.

    1. This could not be more accurate. Second driver at Ferrari always gets the short end of the stick.

    2. If I were Carlos, I’d be worried.

      1. The expectations are already low. That’s why he has been picked.

  11. Nasty Divorce…. just make a deal with Red Bull and Switch former Ferrari reserve driver Kvyat with Vettel.

  12. It’s strange that Vettel in 2020 is suddenly facing issues that were faced by his prior teammate Kimi when together in Ferrari. And Massa before Kimi in the second Ferrari. I think it’s easy to understand that whoever is defacto no. 2 or falls out of favor with the team begins to face issues while the driver in the other car miraculously salvages points and positions. Vettel beat Kimi by margins when they were together. And the same is now happening with Vettel.

    1. I’m thinking the same too. That’s spome Kimi level of strategy and car issues right there.

  13. Typical Ferrari trying to demoralise and get rid of their 2nd driver….who is probably holding on now for his wages….It would not surprise me if Spain was his last drive for the team..and they come to agreement on a settlement….
    Cannot guess what Seb would do for the rest of this season….but Hulk could take his place at Ferrari
    Never dull at F1

  14. Vettel complained about his strategy on the radio during the race, saying the team had “messed up” by putting him in traffic with his second pit stop

    That sort of comment is very unappreciative of the work the team has put in to give him a top performing racing car. Sebastian tripped at the start of the race, ended up running last, and completely ruined their carefully determined race winning strategy. He was the one that messed up, not the team. Admittedly, after 70 years Ferrari should have the experience to have done a better job with their rescue strategy so Sebastian could have finished in the top ten, maybe even pull a podium finish out of the hat, but the primary problem was his own gung-ho attitude left them trying to salvage something from a disastrous start.
    Putting Sebastian onto hard tyres and then using them like softs seems very short sighted, but saying the team “messed up” in public isn’t going to earn you much kudos within the team. All it does is make the people at Ferrari wish the season would finish sooner so they don’t have to see him around the garage anymore.

  15. “We were not sacrificing Seb,” said Binotto. – Lier.

    Binotto – what are you talking about? Vettel doesn’t have the same car as Lecler all 2020 and 2019 this is the fact. He has No support from the team at all.

    Every time if a racer doesn’t have a contract for the next year – for some reason his car become a bus (concerns all teams, not only Ferrari)

    1. Lucky Wookiee Ten Dollar
      11th August 2020, 23:31

      I assume you must have some pretty solid evidence to back up this supposed fact, given that you’re prepared to call someone a liar on that basis. Because if you don’t, you’re the liar. So let’s see your in-depth technical analysis of Vettel’s and LeClerc’s cars.

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