Jul.5 (GMM) Mattia Binotto has hit back at claims Carlos Sainz had to “ignore” team orders in order to secure his first career grand prix victory from pole at Silverstone.
Sainz’s Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, who is widely regarded as the team’s ‘number 1’, loudly complained on the radio throughout the race about the need for the sister car to move over for him.
“Leclerc spoke as if he has already been declared the definitive leader, but he not – even contractually,” 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve said.
“It’s too early for that – Sainz still has a chance. Eddie Irvine gave too many points to Michael Schumacher in 1999 and eventually lost the championship as a result,” he told the Dutch publication Formule 1.
“So I think Ferrari will not be very happy with the tone on the radio,” Villeneuve said.
However, Villeneuve’s contemporary Jarno Trulli told La Repubblica newspaper that Ferrari will eventually need to appoint a clear number 1 for the 2022 title.
“Success in Formula 1 is sacred, so a first driver will have to be found within two months,” he said.
Timo Glock, meanwhile, told Sky Deutschland: “Ferrari has to position itself differently if it wants to have a serious say in the title.”
However, Trulli agrees with Villeneuve that it’s too early for team orders.
“Why should they have ruined his race and denied him his first win?” Trulli wondered. “When Leclerc was dominating, I would answer differently.
“But right now they have almost the same points, Sainz is improving, he was on pole, so it was right that the race was free of hierarchy.”
Tom Coronel, an experienced Dutch racing driver, agrees that the situation at Ferrari “is not as clear now as it was in Schumacher’s time”.
“Barrichello really was a clear number two,” he told Viaplay. “But right now Ferrari has two drivers who can both win.
“From a sporting point of view, they just couldn’t take this win away from him.”
Ultimately, though, Ferrari did intervene – particularly when Sainz was asked to leave ten car lengths to Leclerc on the restart, to which the Spaniard violently objected.
“He did not ignore the team’s instructions,” team boss Binotto insists. “He made it clear that he had to protect himself from our opponents and in this way he was also protecting our advantage.
“I realise that, without having a complete picture of the situation, you can get the feeling that Carlos is not a team player. But it is clear to us that, for him, the team comes first.”
Villeneuve thinks the main problem is that Ferrari keeps making strategic errors “all the time”.
“I understand Leclerc’s anger after the race as this was another clear example,” he said. “But what he does need to work on is his communication with the team.”