Rules of engagement – Formula 1


In the Italian newspapers he still holds the Ferrarist disaster in the Brazilian Grand Prix, with the relationship between Sebastian Vettel is Charles Leclerc which now seems to have been reduced to a minimum.

Binotto's strategy to defuse rivalry Vettel-Leclerc Sanctions and new rules

They left San Paolo without speaking to each other. Leclerc with flight to Geneva; Vettel headed to Zurich. After a double meeting with Mattia Binotto, he decided to talk to the pilots immediately after the incident that had taken the two Ferraris by surprise from the Brazilian scene. (…) both will be called again by the team principal at an interview, probably at the beginning of next week (…). It seems that Vettel and Leclerc will not be asked to apologize to the entire staff of Gestione Sportiva, but in the meantime the analysis of the incident has clarified a dynamic within Ferrari that shifts responsibility to Vettel, protagonist of a race in Sao Paulo however unhappy (…) Vettel would have missed a half admission Sunday evening: "I thought I was already completely in front when I moved" he would have confessed to some technicians of the team.

Binotto will meet today Louis Camilleri (…) to analyze the present and jointly hypothesize some future moves. Probably based on internal rules and consequent sanctions. Leclerc would have liked to take the team's position towards Sebastian after the race, something that will almost certainly happen in Maranello, but he will also be pointed out how harmful it is to introduce a particular vehemence when it comes to facing your partner, like also occurred at Interlagos when Charles pulled a corner to the limit to overtake Sebastian just before the accident.

This is a theme on which Binotto, we speculate, will insist looking ahead. (…) Ferrari could demand a different attitude from Leclerc and Vettel for the stages of races in which they will find themselves fighting among themselves. Reducing aggression for the sake of protecting machines, ranking, and team interest. Otherwise, sanctions could be imposed, both pecuniary (the piles)you are always very sensitive on the subject of money), both disciplinary, with some consequences on the priorities for the subsequent tenders.

The theme has always been thorny. Senna blew up any deal with Prost in his second race in Mclaren, in 1988; the young Hamilton generated a crisis in the relationship with Alonso at the debut with Mclaren in 2007; Hamilton and Rosberg often gave themselves to them during the four years of their cohabitation in Mercedes, not to mention the Piquet-Mansell rivalry at Williams in the heart of the Eighties and Mansell-Prost in Ferrari in 1990. (…)

All considering that in 2020 Vettel will be at sunset of his stay in Ferrari while Leclerc has the task of opening a red cycle, possibly with a car capable of dealing with Mercedes and Red Bull. Binotto is preparing to impose rules and penalties with a more marked severity, with the desire to close the case to move on to something else: the definition of the 2020 car and the extremely delicate political management of the new agreement between the teams. (…)

Daniele Sparisci-Giorgio Terruzzi, Corriere della Sera, 19 November 2019

Separated at home

They resisted 1202 laps before getting on their wheels and sending themselves to that country, almost 20 races, a remarkable distance considering that for a long time in the paddock the disaster was not even listed. It was no longer the «if», only the «when» Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc would have represented the clash on the track that they lived in the garage throughout the season, hating each other less and less cordially, between unpublished trails (Monza) and positions not returned (Sochi), between more or less obvious rudeness, up to that fatal caress between tires that started the Armageddon ferrarista. (…)
"This is no good," said team principal Mattia Binotto incredulously, not at all amused by the fratricidal duel from the blockbuster screenplay: the champion against the baby talent, the antidive against the social-boy, more simply the old (32 years) who can't stand being overtaken by the young (22) and loses his head again, directing his SF90 on a collision course with the other. Yet another slip in two seasons to forget. So it cannot and will not continue, this time they have combined it too big and Ferrari's irritation is transversal, from the top to the last of the mechanics. (…) The "strong signal" promised to the pilots will be to put them in front of the responsibilities, after letting them cook in their stock in the post-race: no meeting, no trials for direct route, only the reproach of the leader who has trusted and feels betrayed . Waiting, during the week, for personalized interviews on site as happened after Russia (…).
The handbook will come with the new rules of engagement. Stable orders will not necessarily return, but what has been studied in the meetings will have to be respected to the letter, "automatically", without any misunderstandings or arguments, let alone those embarrassing by radio. It takes the stick to give a future to this bursting couple (…). Vettel (no longer the first driver) and Leclerc will start equally, Binotto does not change his mind: it is too early to bet only on the young, "already able to fight for the title" but still a bit immature, although the events of Interlagos have other points in his favor. On the other hand, after doing everything to recover Sebastian – without the strategy he would not have won even in Singapore, the only ring 2019 – to downgrade him would be to destroy him. There is also a dangerous expiring contract and another 35 million good reasons (the engagement) to advise against doing it. Unless (…) he is the one who wants to change air. Ricciardo or Hulkenberg, in the case, would be the plan B.

Jacopo d’Orsi, The print, 19 November 2019

Red Fury divorce evidence

Needless to look at it in slow motion, the mother scene, to dissect it to measure who has not given space and how much, who took it and how, because even in direct that red-to-red mush was pretty vivid and clear: a disaster. Mattia Binotto (…) saw the fatigue of a whole year sabotaged in a single curve. The fratricidal clash on lap 66 of 71 of the Brazilian Grand Prix between the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, of the old that does not go to be passed by the young and, visibly, punishes him by steering just enough for the patatrac in the few centimeters left by the presumed pupil who dared to overshadow him as a teacher for the whole season, not only produced the double withdrawal of the Maranello cars but definitively put on stage the profound dualism and who knows if it could be rectified between the two pilots, the mutual boxes, the fans (the hashtag #VettelOut is running fast) and maybe the whole team. Seb and Charles did not injure themselves for the positions (…). But to mark the territory animalically. (…). But now that the conflict has been carnally staged, it will be complicated but inevitable to try to resolve the conflict. (…). But how can you continue on this gaping vertigo? Defining priorities and roles, without ambiguity.
It would have been clear on the teeter balance. (…) Leclerc (now 22 years old) immediately said that he was going to Ferrari to win. He was much criticized for what some called a form of youthful arrogance (…). Instead Charles, yes candidly but not naively, immediately provided clues about his temperament and his ambitions: to be a champion, not a vassal. Vettel (…) perhaps sensed it earlier and more than the others, so much so that at the time he did more of an endorsement to continue to have the more malleable next to him, at least behind the wheel, Kimi Raikkonen. In vain. In the project of former president Sergio Marchionne, who in the German Vettel saw (too) often a (too) fiery southern, there was Leclerc for the future of Ferrari. In fact: if Seb last year with a competitive car wasted too many errors the possibility of fighting for the title, this year he suffered the talent and speed of his young companion (… ). A bit like Fernando Alonso with Lewis Hamilton, 12 years ago at McLaren, and we know how it ended. Binotto worked very hard to try to establish a formal harmony between the two by giving Vettel the title of first guide and often sacrificing Leclerc in his choices on the wall. Because Seb, in self-esteem crisis, had to be helped. (…). Already from Australia between strategies for and against, trails not given and positions not returned, the couple has accumulated useful grudges in Brazil for passionate divorce. And Ferrari perhaps more than the other teams, if it aspires to a 2020 as a queen, cannot afford to be separated at home.

Alessandra Retico, The Republica, 19 November 2019

It must be decided now who will be the number 1 for 2020

In F.1 rivalries within the same team have never done well. Not least in Ferrari, when the clash between pilots often produced tragedies. Luigi Musso lost his life in Reims in 1958, in the most intense moment of the struggle with the English comrades Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins. And Gilles Villeneuve left in Zolder in 1982, two weeks after the crimes of Imola in which he felt betrayed by Didier Pironi who mocked him at the end of the San Marino GP with his twin sister. (…). We are not at this point, fortunately. But the history of the GPs teaches that unclear management of relationships and unscrupulous challenges among comrades have often led to losing championships that could be won. This is why, when time is still in sight of 2020, Ferrari must make a choice. He has to decide who among Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, next season, will be number 1 in the team. (…) At the cost, also, of seeing one leave, and in this case the choice would be obligatory. The dynamics are complicated. Seb is a 4 times world champion who was at the center of the project, (…) but inclined to error if put under pressure. And the new companion, who is so fast, has often destabilized him. Charles, a man of Nicolas Todt (son of the former Ferrarist Jean, now in command of the FIA), with all that a support of this kind entails, is sure of himself and eager to assert himself. History still teaches that Ferrari needs the leadership of a firm guide with great personality. Over the years, the founder Enzo Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, Sergio Marchionne have been. One cannot leave such an intense conflict (…) in the hands of Mattia Binotto alone.

Stefano Barigelli, La Gazzetta dello Sport, 19 November 2019

And now?

The responsibility of the contact (…) is largely attributed to Vettel. Surprised, perhaps bothered by the tough though legitimate attack of Leclerc on Senna's S, as often happened in similar circumstances, the 4-time world champion lost his compass, following the most complicated way to react, slipping outside where there is it was a hole between the other red and the lawn. Seb remains convinced of the goodness of the maneuver but is aware of having dissatisfied the team. But even Leclerc has faults: when he saw Vettel on his right, instead of moving inside, he remained there, almost to challenge his companion. The main effect of the contact is that Ferrari finds himself with a driver who has the morale under his heels, Seb, and another who still struggles to put the team's interests before his own desire to emerge. (…)

Freeze the positions? Order Vettel not to offer resistance to Leclerc who fitted with cooler tires? Out of question. The mistake, if anything, was to create it as such. Underestimating on the one hand the ability of a talented driver like Leclerc to find himself immediately at ease in a top team and on the other the limits of Vettel's character. (…) Ten years older, Seb suffers because he perceives that he is no longer central to the world-wide Ferrari reconversion project, and is caught off guard by the attention the team reserves to Leclerc, indicated by everyone as the rising star. But he is not willing to give up. (…) When it happened to Red Bull with Ricciardo, Seb packed his bags. (…)

Andrea Cremonesi, La Gazzetta dello Sport, 19 November 2019

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