Ferrari: Leclerc and Sainz will start 2021 F1 season with equal status

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr will start the 2021 Formula 1 season with equal status as drivers, says Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto

Ferrari: Leclerc and Sainz will start 2021 F1 season with equal status

Sainz comes into replace Aston Martin-bound Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, having spent the last two seasons with McLaren.

Although Leclerc will be entering his third season at the Italian team, while Sainz is about to embark on his first campaign there, Binotto is clear that there is no number one driver.

"There is nothing written in the contract of Charles being the (team) leader," said Binotto.

"I think that the two will be free to fight on track. I think it's important that they are not damaging themselves, that is clear, but I think that they will have equal opportunity, certainly at the start of the season."

Binotto said that Ferrari's priority would always be to maximise constructors' championship points, so any pit wall involvement in team orders would only be on that front.

"Our top priority, as I said in the past and will remain, is to optimise the team's points," he added.

"So it may be that in some races, it will be important that the two are somehow helping team decisions or accepting team decisions in order to optimise what is the team's interest.

"And by doing the team interest I think we are prevailing and we are helping the drivers' interest as well.

"Later in the season, if there will be a clear advantage of one driver to the other and that one of the two drivers may achieve an objective which is not possible for the other, I think it will be an open discussion between the two.

"Then, let's see how we can eventually help each other but still to the benefit of the team. But optimising the team points is the first priority."

Sainz had his first day at Maranello on Friday, where he was shown around the factory and had an early run of meetings to get to know the people he will be working with.

Speaking about his experience, the Spaniard says the initial experience of being at Maranello was something he would remember for the rest of his life.

"It's the first time in red, which is obviously, as you can imagine, pretty special," he said on Friday.

"It's a special day for me in general. And it's probably a day I will never forget.

"I'm fully ready, fully motivated here today already, after leaving the UK yesterday. So totally new, and totally refreshed for this new challenge.

"There will be some Christmas and some holidays to disconnect, and to make sure we recharge the batteries as quick as possible.

"But you can be sure I'm going to be here pretty early in January to keep pushing, to keep helping this team to move forward as quick as possible in the best direction.

"I cannot wait to be honest. Today I had already my first meetings, my first look around the factory, and it's something that I will never forget."

shares
comments
Ferrari announces SF21 F1 car name and launch plan ahead of 2021 testing

Previous article

Ferrari announces SF21 F1 car name and launch plan ahead of 2021 testing

Next article

Red Bull says Hulkenberg, Vettel never serious options for '21 F1 seat

Red Bull says Hulkenberg, Vettel never serious options for '21 F1 seat
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. , Charles Leclerc
Teams Ferrari
Author Jonathan Noble
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021