Ferrari boss responds after Carlos Sainz snubbed by team’s chairman

Carlos Sainz commits future to Ferrari until 2024

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Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto offered a response to chairman John Elkann’s snub of Carlos Sainz ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. In a recent interview, the 46-year-old discussed his team’s chances of winning a championship in the future, with this year’s hopes now all but dashed.

Charles Leclerc was hailed by Elkann as the leading driver for the Maranello-based outfit, with Sainz not even mentioned in the conversation. With the owner seeming to confirm Leclerc as their top driver, Binotto was asked if there is any truth to that, to which he replied: “No, it doesn’t mean that.

“What our chairman said, if you look at the current season, Charles on average has been faster than Carlos and has most often been on pole position. But the ambition of the two drivers, the final ambition, is to win the championship and I think Carlos is a strong racer.

“He proved it last year, in the past seasons and is still proving this season that he’s a good racer.” Insisting both drivers will be given equal chance, Binotto added: “He [Sainz] is scoring a lot of points on Sunday, he’s a good learner and he’s fast as well.

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“So I think it’s fair, as a team, to give them equal chance, certainly at the start of the season and through the season. If necessity will be there, we may designate who’s got the most opportunity to win.”

Elkan’s comments were supported by 1996 F1 world champion Damon Hill, who insisted there ‘isn’t time’ for kindness in F1. “Carlos has done a great job but he still hasn’t dominated Charles, has he? A bit like Sergio [Perez],” he shared.

“They are a good team, the pair of them… Carlos was actually pretty quick at Monza but he is going to have to go up another level to put Charles in the shade. If you are going into battle against Max Verstappen and Red Bull, you have got to put your best guys forward, you are not going to not hurt people’s feelings because there isn’t time for that in F1. I thought it was tough but fair.”

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Elkann also admitted Ferrari have made far too many mistakes throughout the course of the season which has seen them lose ground to Red Bull. Incorrect pit stop strategies, driver errors and multiple engine failures have seen the Maranello-based team squander at least 100 points this year. Hill was impressed by Elkann showing leadership by calling out his team’s shortcomings as they look to end the season on a positive note.

“That is what the leader should do,” the Brit said. “If you are trying to protect the organisation, it is no good if the outside world is saying these things because they can see it going on and then the guy at the head of the organisation saying ‘There is nothing going on’. Mattia Binotto is obviously trying to protect the team from pressure but it takes the guy at the top to say ‘Listen, we can see what is going on, this is not good enough. It has got to be better’.”

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