Ferrari could prioritise Charles Leclerc over Sebastian Vettel in a few races if it becomes clear he’s the team’s best hope for the Formula 1 title says team principal Mattia Binotto.
The Italian outfit revealed before the opening race in Melbourne it would give Vettel priority over Leclerc in the opening races of 2019.
Leclerc currently lies ahead of Vettel in the drivers’ standings after two races, and remains free to fight the four-time champion on-track, but Binotto insists Vettel will continue to get the team’s support as he has the “most probability” to win the championship.
“Certainly as a team we need to give the priority to the team, and try to maximise the team’s points at the end of the race,” Binotto said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“And as I said at the start of the season, if there is any 50/50 situation where we need to take a decision, the advantage would have been given to Sebastian simply because Sebastian has got most of the experience in the team, in F1.
“He won four championships, and certainly for us he is the driver who’s got most probability to challenge for the title.”
Despite backing Vettel as Ferrari’s team leader, Binotto refused to rule out a revised approach to team orders later in the season.
“If, as something we agreed with both drivers, in few races’ time, things may change, for whatever reasons – bad luck or whatever could be the situation – we may change our position on that,” he added.
“But on the track they are free to fight, on the track I think if there is one driver who is certainly faster he will get the advantage.
“And I think that Charles, as a matter of fact, had the opportunity to be on pole in Bahrain, he had the opportunity to fight for the winning position in Bahrain.”