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Ferrari has "a lot of chats" with Leclerc and Sainz to avoid future friction

Ferrari has "a lot of chats" with Leclerc and Sainz to avoid future friction

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Ferrari has "a lot of chats" with Leclerc and Sainz to avoid future friction

Ferrari has "a lot of chats" with Leclerc and Sainz to avoid future friction

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed having "a lot of chats" with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc ahead of the new Formula 1 season to ensure they understand the team comes first at all times.

Leclerc has already made clear he and new team-mate Sainz need to discover "a compromise" if they are to avoid becoming involved in an intra-team battle, as was occasionally the case with the Monégasque and Sebastian Vettel.

For the Scuderia to emerge from its worst performance in 40 years last season, Binotto has at least laid down and reiterated ground rules across numerous meetings with the pair.

"The team comes first," said Binotto. "Teams matter, there is not a single individual that comes above the team itself. This is something of which we are all aware.

“Something we discussed as well together is that to become world champions, first we need to beat the other cars and the other drivers.

"Eventually when we are the fastest car and the fastest drivers on track, we make somehow the fight between them.

“It is really focusing on trying to progress as a team – and the team includes as well the drivers – and I think it comes through transparency, trust. I think the relationship is going on very well.

“We have had a lot of chats in the last weeks, a lot of discussions. Understanding each other is very important.

"But I am very confident in that. I am confident because of the way we started. It is proving that we are very hopeful for the future.”

Binotto believes a more harmonious relationship will result in improved results.

Leclerc shone last season in an under-performing car, while Vettel had clearly lost all motivation after being told before the start of the season he would be out at the end of it.

Pointed out to Binotto that if Vettel had scored the same number of points last year as Leclerc [98] then Ferrari would have finished fourth in the constructors' standings, he replied: "Certainly, the constructors' championship is important for us.

"Certainly, team scoring is important. Both drivers know it. For us, it is certainly important they both do their maximum because the sum of the two points for the drivers’ is key for the constructors’ at the end of the season.

“I’m expecting Carlos to be very fast and competitive this year, as I know that Charles will be, as he was last year.

"We will certainly need a good car to perform better but I am expecting both of them to do well and hopefully we will have a greater season than last year.”

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