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Binotto explains why team orders are 'delicate' for Ferrari

Whilst Ferrari are not yet ready to back one driver over another in the 2022 season, team boss Mattia Binotto admits that the use of team orders will always prove challenging.

Mattia Binotto acknowledges that Ferrari may chose to back one of their drivers over the other at a certain point in the championship, but feels that team orders are a particularly "delicate" subject, especially given the Italian squad's history. As things stand, Charles Leclerc is ahead of Carlos Sainz in the Drivers' standings, with Leclerc currently second on 170 points, while Sainz lies fourth with 133 points to his name. Binotto insists that the focus is on the team as a whole at this stage of the season, rather than favouring one driver. "First, what we are trying to do each single race is [to] try to maximise the team points," Binotto told media, including RacingNews365.com . "Obviously, there [are] two championships, which is the Constructors' and the Drivers'. "By maximising the team points, I'm pretty sure that we are as well maximising the drivers' opportunity by taking points [off] the opponents. "The opponents should not be Charles for Carlos and Carlos for Charles, but certainly Max [Verstappen], Lewis [Hamilton] and the others."

Binotto explains when Ferrari would prioritise one driver

There were some questions raised over Ferrari's strategy choices at the British Grand Prix, given that Sainz won the race whilst Leclerc – who is closer to Verstappen in the championship fight – slipped from first to fourth. However, Binotto feels that now is not yet the time to back one driver over another, though he accepts that this may change as the campaign progresses. "That's the way we see it; the fastest car on track is the one which is prioritised," the team boss explained. "We believe by doing so, certainly at this time of the championship, [it] is the best thing we can do. "If, later in the championship, there will be one of the two drivers that got most of the opportunities, certainly we may try to give him full priority, but it's not the situation right now. "So we need to cope with it, but still, I'm pretty happy to see those two drivers fighting."

Why team orders are a "delicate" matter

Should the team need to eventually employ team orders, Binotto feels that they will be criticised whether they do this or not. "I know that when there are team orders, everybody's blaming us," he commented. "Because [they say] we should have a free fight, and when [we've] got the free fight then [they say] we should have team orders, and so whatever you're doing is always wrong." The topic is a particularly sensitive one for Ferrari, given their infamous use of such an order at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix. On this occasion, Rubens Barrichello had been leading the race when he was asked to allow teammate Michael Schumacher through to claim the win, and the Brazilian carried out the move on the final corner of the last lap. The incident proved controversial, and Binotto can still recall the negative reaction amongst the crowd. "I remember 20 years ago here in Austria, I heard the booing from the grandstands because I was here," Binotto revealed. "So again, I think it's always delicate, and each single person after the race knows how we should deal with the situations. "But, once again, what we are trying to do is maximise the team points, which I'm pretty sure is the right choice."

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