Charles Leclerc, Mattia Binotto, Carlos Sainz

Binotto: Leclerc and Sainz will be free to fight on track

Charles Leclerc, Mattia Binotto, Carlos Sainz

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has revealed that Charles Leclerc will not be afforded number one driver status during the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Team orders became a big distraction back in 2019, with Sebastian Vettel initially seen as the number one by the Scuderia.

However, Leclerc’s speed quickly brought that strategy into question and Ferrari were forced to change tack, with Vettel eventually losing his seat before the start of the 2020 campaign.

Perhaps eager to avoid a similar situation between Leclerc and new recruit Carlos Sainz, Binotto confirmed that the two would “be free to fight on track”.

“There is nothing written in the contract of Charles being the leader,” he said. “The two will be free to fight on track.

“I think it’s important that they are not damaging themselves, that’s clear. But they will have equal opportunity certainly at the start of the season.”

Ferrari endured a tough 2020 campaign and finished sixth in constructors’ standings, with Vettel, in particular, struggling to adapt to their underpowered machine.

Looking ahead to 2021, Binotto said that it was vital the team had both drivers scoring points on a regular basis.

“It’s important to have two drivers which are delivering or doing very well in the race in order to do as many points as we can for the constructors’ title,” he added. “I know that by doing well in the constructors it means that the two drivers are doing well in terms of drivers classification.

“I’m hoping and I’m pretty sure that Carlos will help us in doing better in terms of constructors and overall as a team.”