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Binotto: Vettel knows he needs to do well

NEWS STORY
19/03/2020

Following the nightmare of late 2018, when a needless mistake while leading his home race was the first of many such errors that saw his title bid fall apart, things got considerably worse in 2019 when - as was the case at Red Bull in 2014 - Sebastian Vettel found himself partnered with a hot-shot new talent.

In the final year of his current contract with Ferrari, Vettel must raise his game considerably if he is to remain at Maranello, not to mention fend off his precocious young teammate.

While talk of Lewis Hamilton heading to Ferrari has (thankfully) cooled, Vettel is now linked with moves to McLaren or Renault, a further sign of the German's fall from grace, certainly in the eyes of the media.

Asked about his future at Ferrari, Binotto tells the official F1 website: "We have started discussing a new deal.

"It's important we address it quite soon," he adds. "It's not something we will leave until the end of the season. It's important for him and for ourselves to get clarity as soon as we can. Discussions are ongoing, and hopefully that will be done soon.

"He's in a very good shape," says the Italian. "I think he's focused. He knows he needs to do well. It's a key moment of his career, because whatever he may do at the start of the season will be important for his renewal. It's in his hands. So I think he's very motivated.

"Last year was important for him. Charles' performance took him by surprise. It's not the case anymore, he knows where the benchmark is and he knows what he needs to do, so I think he has prepared himself very well through the winter. He spent last year trying to understand what went wrong and making sure he does better this year.

"What happened last year was important for both of them," said Binotto, referring to a tempestuous relationship between the pair that finally boiled over in Brazil. "We discussed and had some clarity as to what I'm expecting.

"The team interest is the top priority, and the constructors' championship is a key element. They are free to race, but that doesn't mean we can't still apply team orders in the interests of the team. But if the team is doing well, the drivers get the benefit of it.

"They are two smart and clever guys, they are getting to know each other better. What happened last year, not only in Brazil, but also in Russia when we tried to manage team orders. These situations gave us the opportunity to discuss and when you discuss in a transparent way, you get to know each other better. I think we have built more trust and confidence between us as a team, between the drivers, and that will be helpful in 2020."

Vettel's plight last year wasn't helped by his unease with the car.

"It should be more suited to Vettel," says Binotto of the SF1000, "at least from the first indications of Barcelona. Having said that, one of the best skills of the great drivers is to be able to adapt to the car you have available and to get the most out of it. For our part, we must try to help them achieve this, which we do with both drivers.

"We have been a lot faster through the corners compared to last year," he adds. "So the car is doing what we are expecting, being faster in the corners, but we're slower on the straights. I think we believe that having more downforce should help us not only on a single lap but also in the race, like in tyre management and tyre wear. If I think of the race simulations we did, compared to single lap performance, we have been stronger on the longer stints. That's the benefit of more downforce."

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1. Posted by Wokingchap, 20/03/2020 11:31

"'Vettel knows he needs to do well'........ without cheating."

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