Ross Brawn reckons Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has his work cut out trying to deal with the current dynamic between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, which he describes as “potentially explosive.”
At the Russian Grand Prix at the weekend, there was controversy within the Scuderia ranks as Vettel refused to carry out initial team orders to allow team-mate Leclerc to pass after overtaking him before Turn One in Sochi. Eventually, the position swap was made after a pitstop, with the German retiring due to an engine issue soon after.
It catalysed plenty of comments over team radio from all three parties, although Leclerc has since said he still fully “trusts” Vettel despite the problems.
Brawn, however, believes there is still potential for the team-mate’s relationship to blow up.
“Vettel’s pit stop (after which he emerged behind Leclerc) followed by his retirement meant there was little point in any recrimination, but it’s a fact that Mattia [Binotto] will have work to do in the next few days to pour oil on what seem like turbulent waters,” the Formula 1 motorsport boss said in his post-race review.
“Ferrari has clearly made a lot of progress in recent weeks but it still probably has to deal with a few internal issues in terms of the balance between its drivers.
“On the one hand they have a four-time world champion who is still one of the finest drivers on the grid, despite a few too many mistakes over the past two seasons.
“And on the other, they have an incredible talent in Charles Leclerc – after all you don’t take six poles (including four in a row), and win two races at legendary circuits such as Spa and Monza if you’re not a star in the making.
“It’s a potentially explosive combination and needs careful handling.
Brawn thinks the onus is now on Ferrari team principal BInotto to carefully monitor and deal with any potential breakdown of the driver relationship.
“Of course, Mattia is well aware of how this kind of dynamic can work as he has experienced it before when he was a young engineer,” he added.
“But now the honour and obligation falls to him to make sure that mechanism that drives what can be healthy rivalry runs smoothly.”
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.