Ferrari are not keen on letting Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel having free reign to battle it out on track every F1 race in the 2020 season and as a result team principal Mattia Binotto has revealed he is willing to issue team orders if needed.
Last season Leclerc finished fourth in the drivers standings with Vettel coming in fifth.
The pair had several altercations on the track during the season as the young Monegasque driver looked to stake a claim as the team’s number one driver over the four-time world champion.
However, it all came to a head at the Brazilian Grand Prix when the pair crashed as they raced each other and resulted in both of them not finishing the race.
And Binotto admitted that he isn’t afraid of using team orders this season if it will clearly help the team.
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“I am not saying that they are free to race with no team orders,” he said.
“So there might be team orders for the benefit of the entire team.
“But it has to be a clear situation.”
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Leclerc led the entire field with seven pole positions in 2019, but only managed two race victories, which came back-to-back at Spa in Belgium and then at Monza in Italy.
Ferrari decided to tie down Leclerc to a new deal, with the 22-year-old rewarded with a new five-year contract that will keep him with the team until 2024.
Vettel, on the other hand, wasn’t offered an extension and as it stands will be out of contract at the end of the 2020 season.
However, Binotto insisted both drivers will start the year on the same level and be given an equal chance to succeed.
“I think Charles drove a fantastic season last year and he has reached the same level of Sebastian as well in terms of final results,” he said.
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“So it is right that they are on the same level to start in 2020 and I think they know as well the team has the first priority so team orders may still be there.”
Binotto also dismissed the suggestion that there would be a repeat of Brazil this season, as a result of both drivers are given equal status in the team.
“I think that the two drivers know each other much better now,” he said.
“Generally speaking, there’s not much I need to tell them because they understand perfectly what the path must be to win on the track.”
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