Sulman wrote: ↑
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:53 pm
You can't just throw your lead driver under the bus because his young and shiny teammate has a good weekend or two.
No one wants that, not even Leclerc. What both want, more so Leclerc, is a chance to get equal treatment and a fair shot of challenging his team-mate and fight for wins. On Saturday, this is easily possible and hard to influence, however during the race, it's easier for the team to influence both drivers by imposing team-orders or their strategy.
I also think there's a difference between;
- telling both drivers to hold position and not battle each other for position
- telling one driver not to hold the other up (swap positions)
- telling one driver to let the other pass even though he might be slower
I don't mind that they let Vettel by. At that point, he did clearly look faster, he was the faster of the two over the course of the entire weekend, so I don't fault Ferrari for wanting to swap positions. Long term though; Ferrari really have to consider carefully to what extent and how far they are willing to go to protect Vettels declared "number 1 status". If they influence and impose team orders too aggressively, they are risking getting bad PR, it will only damage Vettel confidence further (as a result of the media weighing in on things) and in the end, their 'talent of perhaps a generation' will build up an animosity towards the team and either work against them, lose faith and/or underperform.
One more thing to consider; When you are in virtually the same car, passing is perhaps the most difficult and the required delta you need to successfully attempt an overtake the largest. The risk is also rather big, as overtaking mostly requires two drivers to play ball. How aggressively is the one in front willing to defend his position? How aggressive should the one attempting the overtake be when engaging his team-mate? Obviously, being in a title race, the most important thing is to not crash with your team-mate and take each other out. I somewhat get the feeling that there must be some pre-agreement prior to the race that the drivers discuss to cover most eventualities; and I would not be surprised if at Ferrari (and somewhat Mercedes) that engaging your team-mate is not allowed, unless sanctioned by the team or if there is a large performance gap that would allow one to pass easily. I see confirmation in this, in how especially Leclerc questioned his team twice, once in Melbourne and once in Bahrain, when he came on the radio to say "guys, I can drive faster". Equally, I think Vettel also came on the radio when following Leclerc for multiple laps within DRS. It's as if they were asking their team to sanction an overtake attempt or to have a team-order imposed to allow one to be let through by the other.
If this is the case, where you qualify, your position during the race and how good your pace is during the race will be even more crucial in how the team might decide. In one thing, the team seems to be at least consistent though; They have publicly stated that in 50/50 situations, they would treat Vettel as their number 1 and this so far seems to be the case.