Sebastian Vettel still the priority but drivers free to fight - Ferrari
Ferrari Formula 1 Team Principal Mattia Binotto believes Sebastian Vettel has the "most probability" to challenge for the title this year and will therefore be prioritised for now, but stressed its drivers remain free to fight,
Binotto indicated pre-season that Vettel’s greater experience and F1 record would lead the team to swing towards favouring the four-time World Champion early in the season.
Ferrari instructed Charles Leclerc to stay behind Vettel during the closing stages in Australia and again told him to hold position early on in Bahrain, before he ignored the message and passed his team-mate for the lead.
"Certainly as a team we need to give the priority to the team and try to maximise the team’s points at the end of the race," said Binotto.
"As I said at the start of the season, if there is any 50-50 situation where we need to take a decision, the advantage would have been given to Sebastian simply because Sebastian has got most of the experience with the team in F1.
"He won four championships and certainly for us he’s the driver who has most probability to challenge for the title."
Binotto nonetheless emphasised that the policy is open for being changed, and reiterated that the two drivers are free to fight on track.
"Something we agreed with both drivers is, in a few races’ time, things may chance for whatever reason – bad luck or whatever could be the situation – we may change our position, no doubt,” Binotto added.
"But on the track, they’re free to fight, on the track I think if there is one driver who is certainly faster, he will get the advantage.
"I think that Charles, as a matter of fact, he had an opportunity to be in pole in Bahrain, he had the opportunity to fight for the win and he had position in Bahrain."