Charles Leclerc says he and Carlos Sainz are “free to fight” this season, but as Sainz added, they must “always put Ferrari first”.
Having spent the bulk of last year developing their 2022 car, many are predicting this could be the season that Ferrari returns to winning ways, and maybe even joins the fight for the championship titles.
Ferrari last won a grand prix in 2019, while the Scuderia’s last Drivers’ title was back in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen.
The long wait, though, could be over this season, at least Ferrari are hoping so.
But that in itself poses a problem with two drivers wanting the top step of the podium and the ultimate prize, the Drivers’ Championship title.
Ferrari have made it clear that they can race one another, they just have to keep it clean.
“Of course we’ve discussed it,” Leclerc said.
“Yes, we are free to fight, obviously without taking any stupid risks because we are fighting for the team, and the ultimate goal is to bring Ferrari to the top. But we’ll be free to fight.”
There are no other fans like our #Tifosi 😎
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) February 18, 2022
Last season the duo have a few tussles along the way with Sainz finishing the season 5.5 points ahead of his Monégasque team-mate.
“It’s important for both of us to have the freedom to go all out and, if we meet on the track, we’ll give it our all but always put Ferrari first,” added Sainz.
“We do expect the car to be fast, but we have no idea where we will be in Bahrain. I am confident that it will be fast and that we can fight to win races with it, but so far we don’t know our real position.”
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto is happy with how the pre-season conversation played out.
The team-mates have already shown that they can work cohesively, doing so at last year’s Mexico City Grand Prix when they swapped positions in an attempt to chase down fourth place.
But with Sainz unable to do that, he handed the position back to his team-mate.
“From my point of view, I was very happy to see these two drivers in a fully open, transparent discussion, showing a level of maturity,” Binotto said.
“As we proved last year, they are getting on well together, but it’s not only the way you can see it from outside. When approaching that kind of discussion, it can be very delicate.
“I think that both of them are really showing and proving a fantastic level of maturity, which I’m very happy with.”
The new Ferrari F1-75 will be on the track on Wednesday when F1’s three-day group shakedown begins in Spain.