Ferrari will not appoint a first and second driver for the coming Formula 1 season. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz get to fight each other on the track who is the strongest driver.
Even far before the start of the new season, the Italian race wants to have made it clear that there is no clear number one within the team. “We have said many times that it will be decided on the track,” Binotto said in an interview with the assembled press. “The team is always the priority. That is why we do not now have a number one and number two policy. We will discuss that when the time comes, depending on the position on the track.”
Also read: Ferrari tempers expectations for 2022
The fact that Binotto does not want to express a preference does not mean that Leclerc has lost his privileged position as Ferrari’s new crown prince. The Monegask will enter his fourth season with the Scuderia next year, while Sainz will start his second season. The Spaniard impressed in his debut year at Ferrari by finishing on the podium four times and even finishing ahead of Leclerc in the drivers’ championship. However, that did not affect Binotto’s decision to start the new year with two equal drivers. “As for Charles, I’m happy with his progress this season,” said Binotto. “He was always very quick in qualifying – even in the latter part of the year when Carlos may have challenged him a bit more.”
In addition, Leclerc had some bad luck last season, Binotto continued. He was referring to the technical problems in Monaco, where polesitter Leclerc was unable to start due to a broken gearbox, and the unfortunate failure in Hungary. It cost Leclerc a lot of points. “It’s hard to say where he would have ended” [in die races], but maybe he missed at least 40 points because of that. He would also have finished higher in the championship,” said Binotto.
Charles Leclerc disappointed: He cannot participate in the Monaco Grand Prix (Motorsport Images)
And so, despite everything, Binotto is satisfied with Leclerc’s progress. “He has learned how to manage the tyres, how to manage the race situation and also the race pace. I am very happy with his progress.”
Order the double champion number and the annual overview of FORMULE 1 Magazine here and get these delivered free of charge. The annual overview and the championship number can also be ordered separately.