F1

Who Is The Number. 1 Driver At Ferrari?

For a team that’s second to none in terms of popularity and its hold over Formula 1, it does appear that the number 1 driver at Ferrari is true after all and no figment of one’s imagination.

After all, such a theory does apply to one of the most admired and dramatic racing marquees in motorsport’s top flight given in the past its drivers have been given preferences and hence, prioritised.

But, a question up first: is that a random call or a well-informed punt of sorts?

Truth be told, none; it’s what facts suggest.

When Michael Schumacher was on his way to earn a fifth driver’s world championship, his then-teammate Rubens Barrichello was told to make for for the celebrated German driver so that the icon could lord the rest of the grid, thereby being assured of his great championship.

While it may not have been much of a surprise at the Scuderia camp, but the prevalence of the number 1 driver at Maranello theory became a striking sight for the rest of the fans of the sport.

But, did things change much drastically after all at the Italian stable?

As a matter of factly, things weren’t much different when it came to the Raikkonen and Vettel pairing, the two coming together in 2015 until the end of the 2018 season.

The Iceman Kimi was often told to let Sebastian Vettel through, the German apparently quite visibly supported by the team first led by Maurizio Arrivabene with Mattia Binotto later taking on the charge.

A clear example of this was felt at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, where pole sitter Raikkonen was asked to jump into the pits at the race’s halfway stage, visibly in a bid to give Sebastian Vettel a firm hold of the contest, which the German later converted into a victory. Meanwhile, Ferrari’s 2007 World Champion would cut a lacklustre figure in claiming a P2 that felt a touch lowly.

Even in the 2018 F1 season, Raikkonen would be told repeatedly to make headway for Vettel in the German’s fighting bid against Mercedes’ iconic Lewis Hamilton.

All of this has led to a famous question, which with the 2023 season due to begin in a little over a month’s time, has found Fred Vasseur with some clarifications to offer:

Is the number 1 driver at Ferrari still going to be the unsaid rule with Sainz and Leclerc coming together?

What does the incoming team boss at Ferrari from Alfa Romeo have to say on the matter and can anyone accept a feeling that does feel plausible after all that it is Leclerc who’s the golden boy at the Scuderia and not Sainz?

In a recent media interaction the following is what the respected leader from France had to say:

“The target of the team is to win – with Ferrari and for Ferrari, this is the policy of the team. I already spoke with the drivers about this. It’s crystal clear that we’ll give them exactly the same treatment and we’ll support both of them in the same way.”

But, having said that how might things change at Ferrari in the wake of the championship fight becoming closer than ever or perhaps in the latter stages?

To this, here’s what the ex-Alfa Romeo boss had to say:

“For sure, if at one stage during the season, one is in a much better place to fight for the championship, we’ll have to take action, but it’s not that one will be the number one from the beginning of the season.”

Having said the above, where it stands as of now, it’s quite clear that Ferrari’s go-to man to challenge the authority of Max Verstappen of Red Bull is the Monegasque driver Leclerc; Sainz could possibly fend off Checo Perez, something that actually didn’t quite come true given the Mexican’s red hot form in 2022. But what happens this time around?

Stay tuned for F1 in 2023!

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Dev Tyagi

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