Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says team orders will remain an option in 2020 when it sees “a clear situation” to benefit the team rather than prioritise either of Sebastian Vettel or Charles Leclerc.

The use of team orders became a controversial point at Ferrari throughout the 2019 season as it changed its approach while introducing Leclerc into its setup alongside Vettel. The Italian manufacturer initially gave priority to Vettel over his teammate in key situations, before trying to make case-by-case calls as the season progressed.

For 2020, Binotto sees Leclerc and Vettel on equal footing and therefore each of his drivers will be given team orders if it benefits the entire team regardless of who each call favours.

“I think he [Charles] has already proven to be ready. I think he did a fantastic and great season last year and he has reached the same level of Sebastian as well in terms of final results,” Binotto said. “I think he has proven he can do it.

“It is right that they are on the same level to start in 2020 and I think they know as well the team has the first priority so team orders may still be there.

“I am not saying that they are free to race with no team orders, so there might be team orders for the benefit of the entire team. But it has to be a clear situation.”

The Ferrari boss also feels the mistakes made last year have been learnt from and is confident of harmony within the squad.

“I think last year has been very useful for both of them and myself, to know each other and to understand how we should behave and what should be the rules within the team and what is the priority – that the team comes first,” he explained.

“I think that the two drivers now know each other better too and they are behaving well. I am very happy at the level of discussions we got and the level of contribution to the car and to the team.

“I think, generally speaking, there is not much to tell them because they understand perfectly what should be the way to behave on track.”

Leclerc finished ahead of Vettel by 24 points in the 2019 F1 world drivers’ championship in his first season at Ferrari. The 22-year-old has been rewarded with a long-term deal at the Scuderia which ties him to the team until at least the end of 2024.

 

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