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Binotto clarifies Silverstone strategy


As questions continue to be asked over Ferrari's decision not to pit Charles Leclerc under the safety car - a move that proved costly - team boss, Mattia Binotto clarifies the team's strategy.

"For sure I can understand his frustration," says the Italian in terms of Leclerc's disappointment at losing out on a possible win, or at least a podium finish. "When you're comfortably leading a race with just a few laps to go and you don't win, then it's natural to feel disappointment.

"But Charles' disappointment is also our disappointment," he adds, "we win together and we lose together.

"We're as frustrated as he is about his result, because the way he drove yesterday was amazing and showcased once again how strong a driver he is. Charles thoroughly deserved to win the race, if it wouldn't have been for the safety car."

Asked why Carlos Sainz didn't yield to his teammate during the first stint, when Leclerc was clearly quicker, Binotto is adamant: "The answer is quite simple," he replies, "it was not necessary to do it at that point and there was still a lot of time to make that decision.

"Our priority is always to maximise the situation in order for the best team result. Only when this goal is under threat do we need to act.

"We did this during the second stint and swapped cars when Carlos was not fast enough and our opponents were catching us."

As to why the team pitted Sainz and not Leclerc under the safety car.

"At this moment it was common sense to prioritise the lead car by protecting track positions," says Binotto. "There's nothing unusual in this strategy, we always prioritise the lead car and therefore Charles in this situation.

"(However), he was on fresher tyres at that point, and if he had pitted, our opponents would have done the exact opposite and gained track position on almost new hard tyres... just think of Lewis Hamilton at last year's season finale in Abu Dhabi when he stayed out on track.

At the same time we decided to put Carlos on the opposite strategy in order to cover all opportunities. If we wouldn't have done that split strategy, we would have risked losing the race and handing the win to our opponents."

Asked why Sainz didn't allow his teammate ten car lengths at the restart and whether the Spaniard was ignoring team orders, Binotto replies: "Absolutely not, Carlos wasn't ignoring the team, he made it clear to us that he had to protect himself against the pressure from behind and in doing so, he was protecting our goal to stay ahead.

"As a team we fully appreciate this and we were all aligned. Without this insider information I can see how this could be perceived as Carlos not being a team player. But a few laps before he swapped positions without any hesitation or complaints, clearly demonstrating that he puts the team first.

"My feelings haven't changed since yesterday," he adds, "I'm very pleased with Carlos' performance, not only in the race, but throughout the weekend.

"His confidence is growing steadily and he handles difficult conditions well. His first win was only a question of time, we've known this from the start and, it was not only fantastic for him, but also great for us as a team to see him on the top step of the podium."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone here.


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1. Posted by flyinglap, 05/07/2022 18:20

"Personally, I suspect that there is a precise reason these "strategy mistakes" keep happening at Ferrari, and that may have to do with the need to satisfy the will of certain important Spanish sponsors of the team (obvious for all to see). If I am not mistaken, the man in charge of strategy is Spaniard as well. Besides that, Binotto has repeatedly proven that he is unsuitable for the role of team principal, and that he belongs back to the technical office at the factory (and even that with a question mark, and with the benefit of the doubt). There is imperative need of a racer / competitor at the helm, with the racecraft, the cynicism and the balls to make the calls, no ifs or buts. Arrivabene for example, was criticized by many, but he was a lot better in that respect. As for the drivers themselves, Sainz has never been quite at the same level of Leclerc, let alone better than Leclerc. In any case, now that he has finally scored his first pole position and his first win, I expect that Leclerc will be implacable both towards his team mate and towards the team, and if not actually sabotaged, he will come back stronger than ever."

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2. Posted by RP, 05/07/2022 16:21

"I agree with the other comments and I don't have to review the other races to see there is a record of poor decision making by Ferrari during races which have cost the drivers and team positions. LeClerc was clearly faster the Carlos even with a compromised front wing. With so many laps to go and the speed advantage both cars had, they threw away a certain 1-2.
There need to be consequences in the team to reduce these strategic errors. "

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3. Posted by Pavlo, 05/07/2022 9:53

"I am surprised to see Binotto totally miscalculated the situation. It was clear from timing that even Lewis would not lose any track position by pitting. Moreover both Ferraris with a clean pitstop would lose maximum 1 position to Lewis, nothing more. But then as he said - "look at Abu Dhabi" - on a steadily faster car Lewis had no chance on a single lap, now Ferrari is faster by itself and they had 10 laps - not a slightest chance for Lewis.
I heard him also saying that they could not afford pitting both cars, but quite opposite - Carlos was already 2s behind, under SC lower speed it easily converted to 3-4s and Carlos could have easily slowed down 1-2 seconds more without triggering Mercedes protest, that would give them comfortable 5 seconds gap for a pitstop. Top team should be able to master it.

Honestly, my first instinct when SC came out was to pit only Carlos. BUT - I am just a spectator, top team should have a dedicated engineer to calculate strategy in case of SC/VSC, with precalculated ready-to-use decisions. Can't be that Ferrari just waits for things to happen and then decides.

Again, Ferrari did bet on a wrong horse. Not only Charles has more chances in the championship, but he was also clearly faster here, having way higher chances to hold Checo and Lewis behind on same tire. For Carlos, if Charles would not hold Lewis and Checo behind for several laps, it was not clear that he would be able to win. Even pitting only Charles would give Ferrari more options - I trust Charles could probably have done what Carlos didn't - slow down Lewis and Checo, let Carlos get some time, and then try to overtake and still finish 1-2.

The only think to defend Ferrari - in the end they did very well for Carlos' motivation. No one has doudts that Charles can win races, and can fight like this, but Carlos still has to prove. Imagine both pitting, after Carlos got pole, Charles had broken car, but then Charles epically overtaking Lewis and Carlos failing to or even losing to Checo on same tires, one can terminate Carlos right now."

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4. Posted by Wokingchap, 05/07/2022 9:20

"Agree totaly with Kkiirmki, Binotto fxxked up again by not pitting Charles immediately with Carlos. He knew Charles would be slower than those who pitted, so his excuse sounds lame. I've never trusted a finger pointer."Rating: Positive (1) "

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5. Posted by Kkiirmki, 05/07/2022 0:22

"Completely disagree with Binotto’s comments here. In typical fashion, Ferrari nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Ferrari need to make these calls straight away, rather than discussion by committee. They could have possibly walked away with a one/two if they had pitted both cars. Mercedes where always going to pit Hamilton for a set of new soft tyres because of their performance advantage. If they had elected to keep Hamilton out on the hard tyre, he would have (most likely) been a sitting duck in the last few laps. Especially as Silverstone is one of the better overtaking circuits. "

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