Formula 1

Ferrari needs to clarify what’s “silly” in its F1 drivers’ rivalry

Ferrari needs to clarify what is “silly” with Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel following their crash last weekend, but is not interested in repeating Mercedes’ past tactics.

After a season that featured tense moments with team orders, Vettel and Leclerc came to blows late in the Brazilian Grand Prix in a collision that took both out of the race.

Team principal Mattia Binotto declared the accident “silly” post-race and is now focused on avoiding a repeat, but dismissed replicating the “rules of engagement” Mercedes employed with its warring pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg a few years ago.

“I don’t know what Toto [Wolff, Mercedes boss] did,” said Binotto.

“I don’t want to judge. I’m not interested as well.

“But certainly we need to clarify with who is in the team, what is silly and what’s not.

“We are at the limit of the actions. But when you have a crash, something was wrong, no doubt.

“When you’re free to fight, you’re free to fight and it’s only a driving matter how much you can take as a risk.

“But certainly here the risk was not necessary.”

Binotto has been keen to manage his drivers this season by employing team orders when deemed necessary and allowing them to race on other occasions.

They had made contact prior to the Brazilian GP, although that was a minor, harmless incident at the start of the Mexican GP when Vettel nerfed the rear of Leclerc on the first lap.

Leclerc’s arrival at Ferrari has appeared to destabilise four-time world champion Vettel at times, and Binotto suggested the team could have handled the new pairing differently this year.

He was due to meet with his drivers at the team’s headquarters in Maranello this week.

“There is always something you can do better,” said Binotto. “But certainly [in Brazil] the mistake was the mistake of the drivers.

“What as a team could we have done better? Not in the heat [of the moment will Ferrari react], but we will think.

“Certainly we need to improve that for the future and that’s not to happen anymore.”

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