Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri has said it was “inevitable” that Sebastian Vettel lost his No.1 status due to the rise of Charles Leclerc.
Ferrari began the 2019 season with Vettel as their main man, with the four-time World Champion being given preferential treatment in 50-50 situations with his new team-mate Leclerc.
However, Leclerc wasted no time in starting to change that dynamic and his excellent first season at Ferrari, coupled with Vettel’s continued struggles, now means that both drivers are now on an equal footing.
“Clearly Charles’ performance has had an impact,” said Camilleri in Ferrari’s post-season debrief when discussing Vettel’s initial No.1 status.
“That’s inevitable when you’re the world champion and this young kid comes along and has a phenomenal season.
“Charles has a lot of talent. He has surprised even ourselves as to what he has been capable of.
“Their collision last month in Brazil was a nightmare,” he added.
“However, the air has been cleared. And sometimes you need a crisis to put the goalposts in the appropriate place.
“Going forwards it gives Mattia a much better way of managing them because they realised how much they screwed up.”
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto confirmed the driver plan for the start of the 2020 season, but the balance could shift again depending on results.
“They will start on the same level but the team remains the priority,” Binotto said.
“If there is a time of the season in which one of the two will have such an advantage in the World Championship, we will evaluate.
If there is such a condition that it is normal and natural to focus on one of the two to maximise the chances of winning, we will do it. But it is premature.
“If they will have one or two points difference in a few races from the end and mathematically only one of them can become champion? They will do what they want.”