Mattia Binotto feels Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are part of the Ferrari F1 team in a way that they don’t have to be given extra assurances about strategy decisions, etc.

Ferrari indeed hit the ground running and were very impressive with Leclerc in F1 2022, with Sainz in the second car catching up well, finishing second in Bahrain and third at Saudi Arabia. Two more victories have followed, one win each for the drivers but while it’s a good season, they have flattered to deceive and as is well known, Red Bull have really come into their own.

But one particular issue which has been very noticeable has been the on track decision making by Ferrari which would appear to have cost the team a lot of points this season. So much so that between them, Sainz and Leclerc have finished outside of the podium in no less than 11 races.

Still to get points as always is good but there have been moments when their strategy has been very strange to say the least.  So much so that during the races and after same, the drivers, particularly Leclerc have given vent to their feelings.

For Leclerc and Sainz, it is annoying and even they much at this stage be calling in the strategies and decision making of the team and it is on Binotto to calm them down – which he has been seen doing so. When asked about the assurances that the Italian has had to give, he reckoned the drivers are part of the team and it is same for all.

“As far as the drivers are part of the project, as they are no external people, simply being there participating but not being involved, they are involved in all our process of improvement, they are involved in our discussions, they are involved in our review post-races and they are involved real time during the race weekend, whatever we are doing so on the strategies, they are involved in the race, in the discussions that we got on the Sunday morning, and as well during the race itself,” said Binotto.

“So I think being so involved, they are part of it and they are even protagonists so it’s not a matter of giving them assurances, it’s a matter of keeping them involved, making sure that the team is capable of improving, giving them the full support to do so and keep the confidence in what we are doing because once again, as I said, if I look at where we were, where we are today, the team has done a lot of progresses and no reason they cannot do even more in the future,” summed up Binotto.

Separately, the 2022 campaign has seen Leclerc take pole position on eight occasions to team mate Sainz who has had two pole positions. A large difference and there is also the case of a points difference between the two of namely 32 points with the Monegasque ahead of the Spaniard.

However, owing to early season success, Leclerc might now be deemed the number one driver of the team. In his press briefing, Ferrari boss John Elkann mentioned the Monegasque but missed out talking about Sainz which raised bells regarding the fact that if the team thinks the Spaniard to be #2.

Binotto clarified that it isn’t that. “No, doesn’t mean that,” he said. “I think that what our chairman said if you look at the current season, Charles on average has been faster than Carlos and has been most often on pole position but the ambition of the two drivers, the final ambition is to win, for both of them, the championship and I think Carlos is a strong racer.

“He has proved it last year, in the past seasons and is still proving this season that he’s a good racer. He is scoring a lot of points on Sunday, he’s a good learner and he’s fast as well so I think it’s fair, as a team, to give them equal chance, certainly at the start of the season and through the season. If necessity will be there, we may designate who’s got the most opportunity to win,” summed up Sainz.

At the outset of the campaign, it was advised there were no team orders at Maranello. As it is, Leclerc is in the stronger position and should Ferrari want to utilise his success as much as possible, the decision over the remaining Grands Prix may be to sacrifice Sainz if Leclerc is behind him and is in title picture.

Here’s Mattia Binotto expands and clarifies on John Elkann’s statement

Here’s Ferrari drivers talking about Mattia Binotto axe rumours

Here’s Mattia Binotto and others on safety car vs red flag