In their quest to regain the elusive title the Ferrari team’s new boss Mattia Binotto has disclosed that Sebastian Vettel could be prioritized ahead of young driver Charles Leclerc early on in the 2019 Formula 1 season. The team is trying hard to end Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes' dominance in the championships.
In the 2018 season, Vettel and Hamilton had a closely fought rivalry until the summer break, as the death of CEO Sergio Marchionne resulted in Ferrari's downturn in the season. In the second half of the season, their races were dominated by driving mistakes, crashes, and engine reliability issues, with Mercedes eventually cruising to victory in both the driver's and constructor's championships.
Vettel is still seen as the main contender for this year's title up against Hamilton, and Binotto claims that this means they must give preference to the German over new recruit, Leclerc.
“I think it’s normal, especially early in the season, that if there are particular situations our priority will be Sebastian. He is the guide with which we aim for the championship. But there’s no prejudice – the absolute priority is for Ferrari to win.” -said Binotto in an interview to motorsport.com
Kimi Raikonnen was Vettel's previous team-mate and the duo enjoyed a cordial rapport with no power struggles or egos damaging Ferrari's chances in races.
Even though Leclerc arrives at Ferrari with something to prove as a young driver, Binotto doesn't think the friendly dynamic within the team will change.
“To have a driver pairing so competitive I think it’s not a problem but an opportunity,” the Italian continued. “Sebastian has little to prove, and he remains our guide. Charles still has to learn, as pointed out by himself, but we know how talented he is. Anyway, I hope to have this problem of having two drivers to manage among the top positions.”
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