Mattia Binotto says Scuderia Ferrari could still enforce team orders during the 2020 Formula 1 season, providing it is to the benefit of the team.
The Team Principal of the Maranello-based team says that both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will be treated equally in 2020, a turnaround from twelve months ago when Binotto insisted the German was the one to be favoured.
Binotto says Leclerc has proven to be ready to be considered as an equal to Vettel but both drivers will need to understand that it will only to the benefit of Ferrari that team orders will be applied, whether it is to maintain or switch position.
“I think that he has already proved to be ready,” Binotto is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “I think he did a fantastic, a great season last year. He was on the same level as Sebastian at the end of last year as well, in terms of final results. I think he has proved that he can do it.
“So I think it’s right that they are on the same level to start the 2020 season. I think they know as well that the team has the first priority. So team orders may still be there.
“I’m not saying that there will be no team orders. So they may be team orders to the benefit of the entire team in case. But it has to be a clear situation.”
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Binotto believes that after the flashpoints that affected the team during 2019, particularly the collision between Vettel and Leclerc that eliminated both drivers from the Brazilian Grand Prix, that both drivers have learned from their mistakes and understand each other better.
However, it remains the team that is priority over either driver.
“I think that last year has been very useful to both of them and myself to know each other, to understand how we should behave, and what should be the roles in the team,” he added.
“What’s the priority? The team is first. I think that the two drivers now know each other a lot better and are behaving well. I’m very happy the way with the level of the discussion we’ve got, the level of contribution to the car, to the team, and the way that they are really discussing.
“So I think that generally speaking, there is not much to tell them, because they understand perfectly what should be the way to be able to win on track.”