Charles Leclerc asked for instructions in his favor this Sunday at Silverstone, when he was stuck behind the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. The Scuderia took a long time to accept, and Jacques Villeneuve is surprised that the Monegasque asked for this.
“Leclerc spoke as if he had already been declared the definitive leader, but this is not the case, even contractually” declared the 1997 world champion. “It’s too early for that, Sainz still has a chance.”
“Eddie Irvine gave Michael Schumacher too many points in 1999 and ended up losing the championship as a result. So I think Ferrari won’t be very happy with the tone they used on the radio.”
Note, however, that Leclerc was up to 51 points ahead of Sainz before a series of bad luck not involving his fault, punctuated by a retirement, two failed strategies and a penalty with a start at the back of the grid.
His lead is now 11 points, but the Monegasque is far more convincing than the Spaniard at the start of the season, whether in terms of pace or consistency.
Ferrari must quickly give instructions
Another former driver, Jarno Trulli, told La Repubblica newspaper that Ferrari will ultimately have to designate a clear number 1 for the 2022 title: “Success in Formula 1 is sacred, so a first driver will have to be found within two months.”
Timo Glock also goes against Villeneuve and thinks that the Scuderia will have to quickly choose a leader: “Ferrari needs to position itself differently if it wants to have a serious say in the title.”
However, Trulli agrees with Villeneuve that it’s too early for squad orders against Sainz: “Why should they have ruined his race and deprived him of his first victory? If Leclerc were dominating, I would respond differently.”
“But now they have almost the same points, Sainz is progressing, he was on pole, so it was normal that the race was free of hierarchy.”
Leclerc’s anger can be understood
This shows the complicated situation in which Ferrari put itself by ruining several races for Leclerc, and not giving him priority at Silverstone. Where Leclerc was an obvious leader after Miami, he is now threatened by the one who only beat him once in qualifying (Canada being a special situation since Leclerc did not fight in qualifying, knowing penalized).
Tom Coronel thinks Ferrari should explain a situation that “is not as clear today as it was in Schumacher’s time. Barrichello was really a clean number two. But at the moment Ferrari has two drivers who can both win. From a point of view sporty, they just couldn’t take that win away from him.”
In the end, however, Ferrari stepped in – notably when Sainz was asked to give Leclerc ten car lengths on the restart, which the Spaniard fiercely objected to.
On the other hand, Villeneuve understands that Leclerc is annoyed by failed strategies “all the time”which cost him dearly: “I understand Leclerc’s anger after the race because it was another example. But what he needs to work on is his communication with the team.”