Binotto details Ferrari's pre-Russian GP "deal"

Ferrari Formula 1 team boss Mattia Binotto has given a detailed explanation of the "deal" made with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc over the start of the Russian GP.

Binotto details Ferrari's pre-Russian GP "deal"

Binotto confirmed that, based on what has happened in previous Sochi races, the team put its energies into finding a way to ensure that its cars were first and second at the end of the first lap, given that they were starting first and third, with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in between.

"Looking at the past races in Russia we know that it's important to be ahead at the first lap, because normally if you start first, you may finish first," said Binotto.

"As a team obviously the victory was key, so we decided that the most important thing for us was to be first and second at the first lap, because by being first and second we would have somehow control and manage the pace and control the positions.

"Which is what was happening, because being first and second as a matter of fact we were controlling the race, and without any reliability issues certainly we would have kept positions after the pitstops."

Binotto said Leclerc had agreed to not defend his lead from Vettel on the long run down to Turn 2.

"Being first and second was the first objective. How can you do that when you start first and third? Certainly protecting the first position as well as making sure you gain a position and being second.

"We agreed together that the best way was not to give any slipstream to Hamilton first, because giving a slipstream to Hamilton would have given him some advantage, or at least some possibility, and therefore Charles would have given the slipstream to Seb.

"That was what we agreed, and discussed - [that] by giving the slipstream to Seb and not defending the position would have given an advantage to Seb, which later on in the race we would give back [to Leclerc] by swapping the cars. So that was the deal.

"I think what happened was exactly what was explained, they got a good start, both drivers, they both made a similar start, they were on the soft tyres, we got a good speed, Charles stayed on the left, Sebastian jumped very soon Hamilton, and was naturally, I would say, in the slipstream of Charles."

Read Also:

Leclerc made it clear on the radio that he wanted to be let past, and Vettel was given the order. But Vettel did not follow it, indicating Leclerc was too far back - and Binotto has now insisted that the team did not necessarily bank on an early swap of positions.

"Obviously looking at the video, looking at the start, the start went as planned, and therefore we thought it was right to ask Seb to swap positions. Eventually the two drivers may have different opinions by driving the car, but that's something which we may discuss with them.

"We initially asked Seb to give the position back, but fair enough to say at that stage of the race maybe Charles was not close enough, and we would have lost some time on track. Later on Seb was quite fast and gained some track advantage on Charles."

Pitstop strategy wasn't aimed at swapping positions - Binotto

Ferrari brought Leclerc into the pits first, and kept Vettel out for several laps with his teammate lapping faster on fresh mediums. Therefore, once Vettel came in for his stop, he wound up surrendering the lead.

Binotto said tyre wear triggered Leclerc's pitstop: "We knew that, let me say, we could have decided to do it later on. The undercut [against Vettel] was not for the reason for giving back the position to Charles, the undercut was because Charles stopped because he had worn tyres – left rear was starting to be worn, so it was the right moment for him to pit.

"We knew as well that if we stopped both our cars there we would have been vulnerable on safety cars, by leaving the lead to Hamilton. We tried to stay out as much as we could with Seb, simply to protect in case of safety cars at that period of the race.

"Then again, Seb's tyres were worn, he called for it, it was the right moment to pit, he pitted and as a matter of fact Charles was ahead, Seb was behind, but the race was still not over, and there would have been plenty of opportunity to decide then what would have been the best option later on."

Asked by Motorsport.com if he meant that Vettel would have been allowed to race and pass Leclerc, Binotto said: "I think yeah."

That became academic when Vettel was forced to pull over and stop with a hybrid issue, triggering the VSC that allowed Hamilton to pit and get into the lead.

shares
comments
Vettel believes he honoured Ferrari pre-race agreement

Previous article

Vettel believes he honoured Ferrari pre-race agreement

Next article

Debate: Was Vettel justified in rejecting team orders?

Debate: Was Vettel justified in rejecting team orders?
Load comments
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021