Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel must be spoken to by Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto to ensure there’s no repeat of last season’s tension between the duo. That’s the verdict of former Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who’s recalled a similar situation from his time at the Prancing Horse.
Leclerc burst on to the scene at Ferrari in 2019 after being brought in from Sauber to replace the departing 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen.
The 22-year-old’s performances in his first season in red wowed fans and he edged out Vettel to finish the campaign fourth in the drivers’ standings.
Leclerc and Vettel clashed throughout their first 12 months together and the feud spilled over on to the track at November’s Brazilian Grand Prix when their cars collided, ending both of their races prematurely.
Montezemolo is a big fan of Leclerc but thinks the youngster needs to keep his feet on the ground.
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The 72-year-old believes Binotto needs to take charge of the situation to ensure there are no further problems with Vettel.
Montezemolo says he had to do the same with Rubens Barrichello and remind the Brazilian of the needs of the broader team during the his spell with Ferrari.
“[Leclerc is] very strong, he has a lot of pressure and hopefully his head won’t go too high,” Montezemolo told Sky Sport in Italy.
“He made a few mistakes with [Sauber], but can he and Vettel live together? It will be a delicate topic for Binotto. We need to explain to them that we are racing for Ferrari, as I did with Barrichello.”
Ferrari are in the midst of a title drought which stretches back to the World Constructors’ Championship that Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa helped them win in 2008.
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Leclerc and Vettel, though, represent one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid and Montezemolo is optimistic about Ferrari’s prospects going forward.
“Ferrari has almost everything to go back to winning,” Montezemolo said. “Almost everything means that we are close to everything.
“It is too long that you do not win or you do not reach the end of the World Championship with the possibility of being able to win.”
Leclerc and Vettel were supposed to begin the 2020 F1 campaign last month at the Australian Grand Prix.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has seen the first eight races of the year called off and the season is now scheduled to start in Canada in June.
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