Vettel began 2019 with "priority" over Leclerc as the Scuderia looked to end Mercedes' dominance of F1, but a woeful start to the campaign has cost them and the Silver Arrows secured a sixth straight title double at the Japanese Grand Prix last time out.
Leclerc's performances have seen Vettel's standing altered, as the 22-year-old leads his team-mate in the drivers' standings, while Ferrari's tactics at the Russian Grand Prix decidedly favoured Leclerc until poor fortune put the race in Mercedes' hands.
"Charles Leclerc is faster than Sebastian Vettel," Briatore told Rai Radio.
"The Monegasque is already ready for the title, he is destined to become world champion. If I were team leader, I would make him the number one. Leclerc is an incredible talent, he drives aggressively and gets everything out of the car.
"I said two years ago that Ferrari should get the young Leclerc instead of Kimi Raikkonen, because the Finn was simply not good enough to give Ferrari the chance to win the constructors' trophy.
"It is similar to the time when I was team leader at Benetton. I put Fernando Alonso in the car instead of Jenson Button because I knew we would never be world champions with the Englishman."
Ferrari have made great strides since the summer break, taking pole position in all five races with Leclerc responsible for four of them and Briatore hopes this is not the latest false dawn for the Scuderia.
"I hope Ferrari will not sacrifice another year in 2020," he said. "This season, they made some decisions that did not necessarily help Leclerc.
"Especially against the background that Sebastian Vettel had no real title chances.
"Leclerc is a potential world champion, but he has to move the right car for that. The car is so much more important today than the driver. An outstanding pilot may be able to make up two or three tenths if he's not in the best of cars, but if the car is half a second slower than the top car, it will not work."
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