With the new line-up, Leclerc and Sainz enjoy equal status as per Binotto.
Ferrari is the most iconic and successful team in the history of F1, but at the same time, currently, Sir Lewis Hamilton isn’t just the most successful driver in the history of the sport. On the face of it, both are a match made in heaven, but after some preliminary talks at the end of 2019, Ferrari and Hamilton went their separate ways. But now Ferrari F1 team principal and managing director, Mattia Binotto has reiterated that there is “no regret” over not signing Lewis Hamilton who at the end of the 2020 season became a 7-time world champion and the most successful driver of all time. This also resulted in him being named on the Queen’s list of people being knighted.
“I don’t think there will be regret because at the end when we took some decisions, we took them thinking they were the right decisions and today we have a fantastic driver like Charles where we invested a lot as Ferrari,” Binotto said to Sky Sports.
“I think he’s got a lot of talent. If he’s got the right car, I’m pretty sure he can challenge Lewis Hamilton. We’ve made our choices, and I think together with Carlos we are very strong. I don’t think there will be any regret,” he added reiterating his faith in his recruit Carlos Sainz.
Ferrari parted ways with 4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at the end of the 2020 season. Binotto has believed in investing in youth which is why the combination of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr is the team’s youngest F1 driver pairing in over 50 years.
Hamilton and Ferrari reportedly had flirted with the idea of joining forces at the end of 2019, when it had become apparent that Vettel was being outclassed by the Uber talented Charles Leclerc. But nothing came of it. Reportedly, Hamilton’s persona was also an issue which wouldn’t have integrated with the Ferrari brand and corporate image.
Hamilton’s outspoken nature and his influence could’ve had an overwriting influence on Ferrari which has always considered it above its drivers. With the new line-up, Leclerc and Sainz enjoy equal status as per Binotto. For Binotto, in a season which has been ravaged by COVID-19 and Ferrari falling behind in the championship to 6th, Sainz and Leclerc also represent a more pocket friendlier front to someone like Hamilton or even Vettel who was the second highest-paid driver in the sport. Hamilton is currently the most expensive driver on the grid, but his demands for a high pay check are also perplexing the Daimler management which is yet to close a new contract with him for the 2021 season and beyond.