Formula 1 | Fire-free! Ferrari waives team orders

In their first Formula 1 season together as teammates at Ferrari, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz brought the Scuderia back from sixth place in the 2020 overall standings to third place last year. Two pole positions and five podium places were the balance sheet for the Reds.

The duo have been evenly matched throughout the year and endured some close moments on track, most notably during their most recent clash in Saudi Arabia.

The change in the technical regulations for 2022 has fueled the expectation that Ferrari – without a race win since Singapore 2019 – could fight at the front of the field again. If that were the case, Leclerc and Sainz would still compete against each other on the track without a team order.

Leclerc and Sainz appreciate “this freedom”

“Of course we talked about it, I think that was yesterday or two days ago,” Leclerc referred to internal team discussions during the presentation of the Ferrari F1-75.

“Yes, we are free to fight, of course without taking any stupid risks, because we are fighting for the team and the ultimate goal is to bring Ferrari to the top,” emphasized the Monegasque. “But we will be free to fight.”

Sainz added that it was “important” for both drivers to “feel that freedom to fight”, but reiterated that they always respect each other on the track and “put Ferrari first in our personal struggle”. would.

So there shouldn’t be situations like Leclerc’s former teammate Sebastian Vettel. The pair had a number of on-track clashes during their two-year collaboration at Ferrari, most notably at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix when they were battling for a podium finish.

Binotto praises the maturity of both Ferrari drivers

Referring to the discussions with Leclerc and Sainz on this topic, team boss Mattia Binotto is full of praise: “From my point of view I was very happy to see these two drivers in a completely open, transparent discussion that shows a certain level of maturity”, the Italian enthuses.

“They get along well, as we proved last year, but that’s not just what you can see from the outside. When you approach that kind of discussion, it can be very tricky. I think that both of them have a showing and proving a fantastic level of maturity, which I’m very pleased with.”

In his first season as a Ferrari driver, Sainz was able to outperform his teammate in terms of overall ranking. It was the first time Leclerc had lost in a season as he finished 5.5 points behind Sainz.

Leclerc is nibbling on last year’s defeat

The 24-year-old admitted that while the loss to Sainz was painful, he was happy with his performances in 2021 and saw room for improvement. “There are some opportunities that I lost, sometimes because I wasn’t lucky, sometimes because I just wanted too much,” Leclerc said.

“I’m learning from that. I think one of Carlos’ great strengths is that he’s always there. He’s always there at every race. I can be a bit too optimistic myself sometimes and it happened to me a couple of times in the last year , which cost me a few points,” admits Leclerc self-critically.

“So in the end I paid the price and learned my lesson. It hurts but I’m moving on. It’s in the past now. It hurts right now but looking back on the season I’m happy with myself .”


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