Ferrari rejects allegations as Charles Leclerc hits out at Max Verstappen

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has labelled comments made by rivals as “very disappointing” amid a technical directive issued by the FIA regarding fuel flow metre sensors.

Red Bull Racing requested three clarifications from the sport’s governing body, with the primary one being that it suspected rivals had found a loophole that permitted it to disrupt the sensor’s reading.

Ferrari missed out on pole position in Austin, the first time it did not take top spot on the grid since the summer break, and endured a troublesome race.

Charles Leclerc struggled to fourth position while Sebastian Vettel slumped to seventh spot prior to a suspension failure.

On Saturday Mercedes commented that Ferrari did not display as much straight-line speed, though did not refer to the directive, while post-race Max Verstappen made insinuations over Ferrari’s pace.

“I read and I heard a lot of comments this weekend about a technical directive and the impact on our cars,” said Binotto, who asserted that Ferrari made no changes to its power unit in response.

“I heard comments at the end of the race which I feel very disappointing.

“As a matter of fact I believe yesterday we have been very close to the pole position as it has been in the last races, I think that Seb could have scored the pole yesterday, maybe a bit too much cautions in one corner.

“Charles had a clear problem in the morning, losing completely FP3, [then there was] a downgrade on the engine we fitted in the car.

“Overall I think that looking at his performance in Q3 and what could have been done without the issue in the morning I’m pretty sure that as well he was potentially in the pole as well, so I don’t see where is the problem.

“If we look at the race today, we may comment later on, but certainly the speed on the straights was not our issue, while we’ve got clear problems on the grip on the car first stint both drivers.

“Again it’s type of comments I feel are completely wrong. It’s not good for the sport and I think everybody should be a bit more cautious.”

When Verstappen’s comments were put to Leclerc he replied: “I think it’s a joke to be completely honest.

“He has no clue. He’s not in the team. So we know exactly what we are doing and I don’t know why he’s speaking, he doesn’t know anything about us.”

Vettel declined to comment.

Binotto went on to explain that “it’s true that we were not gaining on the straight as much as in the past races, but true as well that I think we matched our competitors in cornering – at least in qualifying.

“The trade-off between grip-limited and power-limited has been moved this weekend.

“We were competitive in qualifying and now there is something in the race we need to understand and then see what’s best for the next races in terms of the trade-off.”