Ferrari insists that Leclerc "free to fight" Vettel


Leclerc replaced Kimi Raikkonen alongside Vettel at Ferrari in the low season, and Binotto confirmed at the launch of the new challenger of the SF90 that Ferrari would give priority to Leclerc in case of special situation.

This has been interpreted by some as an admission that the 21-year-old Monegasque would be relegated to the supporting role in his first Ferrari campaign, but Binotto has now taken steps to dispel such suggestions.

"Obviously, both men will be free to fight," Binotto said. "We will not ask Charles to go slowly. Or Sebastian to be faster [than him].

"We need both of them to run as hard as possible and try to do their best.

"But if there is an ambiguous situation at the beginning of the season, it is Sébastien who has more experience, he is with us for many years, he has already won championships, he so is our champion. "

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Binotto hopes that clarifying Vettel's "priority" status from the start will benefit Ferrari, which has been criticized over the last year for its over-the-top team tactics.

"I think it's as good for Ferrari," Binotto said.

"When your intentions are clear from the beginning, at least you do not make mistakes in an ambiguous situation."

The Ferrari SF90 has been designated as the F1 2019 Platinum class by its main competitors, Mercedes and Red Bull, in pre-season testing.

And newcomer Leclerc has shown an impressive pace since he was in the car, with his best lap since his last day Thursday Thursday, at just one-hundredth of the best effort of the two weeks of testing until the end of the season. now set by teammate Vettel the next day.

"Charles is a good driver, certainly a very fast driver," Binotto said. "Here in Barcelona, ​​he focused on understanding the car, working with the new team and the engineers.

"I do not think there was a relative battle on the track between the two [Leclerd and Vettel]. More important for us [is] to understand the car.

"They have done very similar times, that's true, but I think it shows that Charles is a good fast driver.

"I think we knew it from the past. It's many years [he’s been] at Ferrari. We saw this in the Sauber last year [as well].

"I do not think Charles is a surprise in this regard. It's not the tests in Barcelona that tell us it was the right choice. It was certainly the right choice, but the season will tell us more. "

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